Number of the Day: 16%

NJ Spotlight | October 29, 2010

New Jersey’s official unemployment rate was 9.4 percent in September, the best it’s been since June 2009 and slightly better than the past year, when it averaged about 9.9 percent. Still, unemployment in the state remains stubbornly stuck in the doldrums.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks unemployment by state on a broader scale. When you include the total unemployed, plus what the BLS considers marginally attached workers and then add in those working part-time for economic reasons, the labor department comes up with a 16 percent rate of unemployment for NJ for the last quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2010.

Using this measurement, the Garden State actually fared better comparatively than the rest of the United States. While the unemployment rate during the same period was 9.9 percent — higher than the rest of the country’s 9.7 percent — the 16 percent was lower than the nationwide average of 16.8 percent.

Nevertheless, New Jersey’s unemployment continues to fare worse than surrounding states. New York’s official unemployment rate for September was 8.3 percent; Pennsylvania was 9 percent; Delaware, 8.4 percent; and Connecticut, 9.1 percent. Nationally, Nevada (14.4 percent), Michigan (13 percent), California (12.4 percent) and Florida (11.9 percent), were struggling the most.