Reconciling rising unemployment and strong job growth: NJ’s uncertain fiscal outlook

September 25, 2023

New Jersey’s unemployment rate has steadily risen over the past year and now ranks among the highest in the nation. But while some economists and others suggest that’s a cause for concern, the topline numbers may not tell the full story.

The state unemployment rate has soared from 3% to 4.2% over the past year, according to the latest jobs report released by the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

That easily tops the national jobless rate of 3.8%. It also puts New Jersey among the states with the highest unemployment rates in the country, with Nevada topping out at over 5%…

According to Will Irving, a professor of practice at Rutgers University’s Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, it’s not unusual to have divergent indicators when it comes to the jobs and unemployment data because the results come from two different surveys.

Irving also said it’s important to remember New Jersey, just before the latest increase in the unemployment rate, had been enjoying a period of significant job growth coming out of the worst part of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We came out of the pandemic employment recession pretty strongly, particularly compared to our regional peers,” said Irving, who researches historical trends and also does economic forecasting.

The increase in unemployment experienced over the past year or so in New Jersey has also come amid a series of interest rate hikes enacted by the Federal Reserve as part of efforts to tame inflation, which remains higher than the Fed’s goal of 2%.

That suggests New Jersey could be on the leading edge of a rising unemployment trend that could spread to other states in due time.

“This year, we’ve kind of crested, and turned the corner, and I would expect, over the next several quarters, to see other states start to see a similar move,” Irving said, before adding, “New Jersey certainly could conceivably get hit a little harder.”

NJ Spotlight News, September 25, 2023


Recent Posts

Prof. Julia Sass Rubin: Advocate for Democracy

Original article published in TAPintoPrinceton, June 15, 2024 By Pam Hersh Princeton, NJ – Tuesday, June 4, Primary Election Day in New Jersey, was a big expletive-deleted deal for Princeton resident Julia Sass Rubin, whose name appeared nowhere on any ballot. Rubin,...

Nikpour Receives Office of Disability Services Award

Professor Fereydoun Nikpour was selected for the Office of Disability Services Faculty Honor Roll. The Faculty Honor Roll is a new initiative to recognize instructors who go above and beyond to support the work of the Office of Disability Services (ODS). ODS staff...

Heldrich Report: NJ’s Energy-Efficiency Workforce Needs

New Jersey's Energy-Efficiency Workforce Needs, Infrastructure, and Equity Assessment New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s Energy Master Plan and Executive Order 315 set a goal to reduce fossil fuel usage to 100% clean energy by 2035. The Executive Order also called for...

Shaul Picker Receives 2024 Mortensen-Voorhees Award

Shaul Picker is the 2024 recipient of the Mortensen-Voorhees Award for Achievement in Transportation Studies. This award is granted annually to the highest-achieving student with a concentration in transportation at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Urban Planning and...

NJSPL – Key Insights from Early Offshore Wind Implementation

By Jessica Parineet Offshore wind development is in its early stages in the United States, with just under one gigawatt (GW) of utility scale capacity constructed. State decarbonization goals have catalyzed industry progress thus far, however the Biden administration...

Upcoming Events

Latest Past Events

Jersey City Alumni Mixer

Zeppelin Hall Biergarten 88 Liberty View Dr, Jersey City

Join us for an alumni mixer in #JerseyCity on Thursday, June 6th at Zeppelin Hall Biergarten. Parking for Zeppelin Hall is FREE - more information can be found here: This […]