TRENTON — Nonfarm employment in the Garden State grew by 3,800 in September, according to preliminary figures released Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, but that reflects a decrease of more than 6,000 jobs from the revised number of additions in August.

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, citing the BLS report, said although August's gain of 10,000 jobs was revised down from the preliminary amount of 15,400, the unemployment rate for the month remained unchanged at 4.0%.

On Thursday, that rate as of the end of September stood at 3.3% for the state, according to BLS numbers.

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The net employment gain, at least preliminarily, was the result of 8,200 more jobs in the public sector being offset by a loss of 4,400 in the private sector, the first loss there since April 2020, according to a responding analysis by The Garden State Initiative.

NJDOL said the 0.7% decrease in the unemployment rate meant that many previously unemployed residents found jobs in September, even as others left the labor force.

Private Sector Jobs Since 2020
Graphic courtesy Garden State Initiative

Breaking down the BLS numbers, four of nine major private sector categories recorded gains: "other" services (+1,600), leisure and hospitality (+500), information (+300), and manufacturing (+100).

In the Garden State Initiative's response, other services were defined as including maintenance and repair, personal services such as barbershops and hair salons, and charitable and social organizations.

Construction and professional and business services lost an estimated 2,700 jobs each, trade, transportation, and utilities lost 1,500, and neither educational and health services nor financial activities reported significant change from August.

While GSI lauded the sharp decline in New Jersey's unemployment rate, pushing that number to its lowest level since June 2019 and below the national rate (currently 3.5%) for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, their analysis also noted the downward revision of 5,400 jobs for August outweighed the preliminary 3,800 gain in September.

Unemployment rate - NJ vs. U.S.
Graphic courtesy Garden State Initiative

GSI said the latest report did not make clear where the gain of 8,200 in the public sector came from, and in the private sector, predicted that a quick rebound in construction seemed unlikely.

Preliminary data for October will be released on Nov. 17, NJDOL said.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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