An ongoing shutdown of state-funded road, bridge, and rail projects due to political gridlock in Trenton over renewing the state Transportation Trust Fund seems to be taking a toll on New Jersey’s economy. Preliminary estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, released by the state yesterday, indicate New Jersey lost 4,700 jobs in July, with more than 3,000 of those losses recorded in the construction industry. The figures seem to confirm warnings by industry experts when the shutdown began last month that the political dysfunction threatened thousands of jobs.
The report also shows the state’s unemployment rate moved up again, from 5.1 percent to 5.2 percent, and it remains higher than the national jobless average of 4.9 percent. To make matters worse, estimated gains from June were scaled back by 4,200 jobs. Still, for the last 12 months, the state remains ahead by nearly 56,000 jobs.