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September 20, 2013

New Jersey’s unemployment rate has dropped to 8.5 percent, the lowest level since March 2009, when the Great Recession began to hit the Garden State with full force.

The 8.5 percent for August was the fifth month in a row that the unemployment rate was below 9 percent.

Nevertheless, New Jersey’s unemployment rate is well above the national average of 7.3 percent, as well as above neighboring states New York and Pennsylvania, both of which are at 7.5 percent. And although the unemployment rate dipped, preliminary numbers show that overall employment was lower by 1,500 jobs.

The largest job gains in August, according to the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development, were in education and health services (2,800 jobs); leisure and hospitality (2,100); trade, transportation, and utilities (1,900); and manufacturing (600). Job loss occurred in professional and business services (5,900) and financial services (2,400).

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