New figures released yesterday by the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development showed New Jersey’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.7 percent in December as the state added an estimated 3,100 new jobs.
Revisions made to initial estimates from November also showed more than 1,000 new jobs were added to the nearly 4,000 total that was initially reported by the state last month, meaning New Jersey closed out 2016 with a net gain of 13,600 jobs. Those additions helped to push the state’s current streak of consecutive years with private-sector job growth to seven.
Still, despite the positive economic news from December, the year-end job figures also reveal a less-rosy long-term trend. The 13,600 jobs that were added in 2016 significantly trailed the average annual growth rate of 42,000 jobs that the state has enjoyed since the end of the Great Recession. The 4.7 percent unemployment rate measured in December also marks an increase from the beginning of the year, when the state’s jobless average was at 4.5 percent. And the 2016 figures also showed that last year officially marked a major dropoff from the banner year for job growth that New Jersey enjoyed in 2015, when it added more than 80,000 jobs.