Interactive Map: Unemployment By County

Rates are highest in northern and southern ends of New Jersey

The unemployment rate in each county for June 2012, not seasonally adjusted. For more data, including labor force estimates, the number employed and unemployed, and unemployment rates back to 2007, click on a county.

Source: NJ Department of Labor

New Jersey’s unemployment rate remains stubbornly higher than the national average, but the situation is even bleaker in some counties in the state’s northern and southern ends.

According to data from the state Department of Labor, the proportion of people who are looking for work but unable to find it exceeded 11 percent in Essex, Hudson and Passaic counties in the North and in Atlantic, Camden, Salem and Cumberland counties in the South. Cumberland had the highest unemployment rate –14 percent.

By contrast, the lowest rates were in Bergen County and Western and Central Jersey, with Hunterdon having the lowest unadjusted rate, meaning it did not account for seasonal employment fluctuations, of 7.7 percent.

In most cases, June unemployment was even higher in the counties than the 2010 annual rates at the height of the recent period of job losses.

Several analysts have said it could take several more years before New Jersey recovers all the jobs lost as a result of the recession, which began in December 2007. A recent report from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Public Policy at Rutgers University said New Jersey lost 248,000 private sector jobs in the recession and post-recession period, and has regained only 85,000 of them.

According to the Department of Labor, New Jersey employers added 9,900 jobs in June. Still, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the state rose from 9.2 percent in May to 9.6 percent in June. That was 1.4 points higher than the national rate of 8.2 percent. State officials said that increase was at least in part due to an influx of job seekers, both new and those deciding to re-enter the work force.

Counting those who have given up looking for work, as well as those who are underemployed — working only part-time because they could not find a full-time job — presents an even bleaker picture of unemployment.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, while New Jersey’s official unemployment rate was 9.4 percent in 2011, its U-6 alternative rate, including the underemployed and discouraged, was 16 percent.

That rate is not available for counties. But the map does include unadjusted annual unemployment rates for 2007 through 2011, as well as the rates for January and June of this year and current labor force counts.

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