Department of Labor & Workforce Development

Unemployment Rate Dips to 3.1 Percent in September


October 17, 2019

TRENTON – New Jersey’s unemployment rate continued its downward trend in September, moving lower for the sixth consecutive month, while job levels in the Garden State were essentially unchanged, according to estimates produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state’s unemployment rate edged lower by 0.1 of a percentage point to 3.1 percent – the lowest monthly rate since state-level records began in 1976 – and remained below the national unemployment rate of 3.5 percent. Total nonfarm wage and salary employment in the state decreased by 200 to a seasonally adjusted level of 4,197,200.

Looking at the longer term, over the year, September 2018 – September 2019, employment in New Jersey was higher by 44,600 jobs, with gains recorded in both the private (+43,400) and public (+1,200) sectors of the New Jersey economy. Since February 2010 (the low point of the last recession), New Jersey’s private sector employers added 403,000 jobs.

Based on more complete reporting from employers, the previously released total nonfarm employment estimate for August was revised lower by 3,000 to show an over-the-month (July – August) decrease of 1,900 jobs. Preliminary estimates had indicated an over-the-month increase of 1,100 jobs. The state’s revised August unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.2 percent.

In September, employment increases were recorded in five out of nine major private industry sectors. Industry sectors that gained jobs include other services (+3,100), leisure and hospitality (+2,200), financial activities (+1,000), construction (+500), and manufacturing (+500). Industry sectors that lost jobs include professional and business services (-4,100), trade, transportation, and utilities (-1,100), information (-800), and education and health services (-400). Over the month, public sector employment was lower by 1,100 jobs, mainly at the state level (-900).

Preliminary BLS data for October 2019 will be released on November 14, 2019.


Technical Notes: Estimates of industry employment and unemployment levels are arrived at through the use of two different monthly surveys.

Industry employment data are derived through the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey, a monthly survey of approximately 4,000 New Jersey businesses conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor, which provides estimates of employment, hours, and earnings data broken down by industry for the nation as a whole, all states and most major metropolitan areas (often referred to as the “establishment” survey).

Resident employment and unemployment data are mainly derived from the New Jersey portion of the national Current Population Survey (CPS), a household survey conducted each month by the U.S. Census Bureau under contract with BLS, which provides input to the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program (often referred to as the “household” survey).

Both industry and household estimates are revised each month based on additional information from updated survey reports compiled by the BLS. In addition, these estimates are benchmarked (revised) annually based on actual counts from New Jersey’s Unemployment Compensation Law administrative records and more complete data from all New Jersey employers.

Effective with the release of January 2018 estimates, the Current Employment Statistics (CES) program has converted to concurrent seasonal adjustment, which uses all available estimates, including those for the current month, in developing seasonal factors. Previously, the CES program developed seasonal factors once a year during the annual benchmark process.  For more information on concurrent seasonal adjustment in the CES State and Area program, see www.bls.gov/sae/saeconcurrent.htm.

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