Number of the Day: 9.6 percent

July 20, 2012 | Number of The Day

The state’s unemployment rate took a big jump this June to 9.6 percent, a full 1.4 percent higher than the national average, which remained unchanged from the previous month. The unemployment rate had been slowly creeping up all year, but the last time the rate was this high was July 2010.

Despite the sudden spike in the unemployment rolls, the Christie administration released the numbers touting an increase of 9,900 jobs last month and nearly 25,000 jobs in the past two months, which was the largest two-month gain since 2000. Last month the gains were in both private (7,600) and public (2,300) jobs.

Still, there were plenty of job losses. The largest was in the trade, transportation’ and utilities sector, which was down 2,500, as well as manufacturing, down 2,300. The largest gains were 6,100 jobs in leisure and hospitality, traditionally a big increase in employment during the summer tourism months. Education and health services also posted an increase of 2,500 jobs, as did the professional and business services, with an increase of 2,000 workers, and financial activities, which posted a 1,200-job increase.

Democratic legislators used the announcement as an opportunity to criticize Christie and his claim that New Jersey is on a “comeback.”

“Despite his bipartisan rhetoric, Gov. Christie has vetoed major job creation initiatives in New Jersey and our sky-high unemployment rate is the result,” said Assembly Lou Greenwald (D-Camden-Burlington). “It’s clear that the governor is more interested in preening for the national media spotlight than working to create jobs for New Jersey’s middle-class.”