NJ unemployment rate 6th highest in the nation as health care, banking shed jobs

June 24, 2024

New Jersey’s unemployment rate has been nearly the same for almost a year — the sixth highest in the nation  according to recent numbers — as nationwide the labor market shows signs of slowing down.

New Jersey’s latest unemployment rate is still a far cry from the 15.4% unemployment seen in May 2020 during the COVID-19 business closures, which itself was New Jersey’s highest unemployment rate since those figures were first tracked in 1976.

Higher-paying office jobs became saturated coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, said James Hughes, an economist at Rutgers University.

“They didn’t want to let any of their employees go because they knew how hard it was to build up staff. They’re keeping those employees,” Hughes said. “But they’ve given up on hiring.”

Lower-paying sectors such as leisure and hospitality, which were hit harder during the pandemic, continued their hiring surges in 2023 and 2024. Health care is expected to grow as the baby boomer population ages and becomes one of the sector’s biggest consumers, Hughes said…

Most of those were in lower-paying jobs like restaurants, health care and teaching, Hughes said.

NorthJersey.com, June 25,2024


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