Labor Commissioner Doesn’t Believe 36,000 Job Loss in NJ

January 23, 2014

The latest jobs report has been released showing 36,000 jobs were lost in New Jersey and the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Harold Wirths told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that the preliminary numbers are unbelievable.

The good news for New Jersey is that the unemployment rate fell from 9.5 percent to 7.3 percent, which is the second largest drop in history, Wirths said. He said that the 36,000 jobs lost is a statistical anomaly that happened in December.

Wirths said that if a company is going to have layoffs, it has to send his department a notice 60 days in advance and the UI claims base went down 15 percent.

“Preliminary numbers are always revised quite a bit, especially now. We have the benchmark numbers coming in March and I think that you will see these numbers go on hold. I’m sure the state of New Jersey didn’t lose anywhere close to 36,000 jobs. I think when the benchmark numbers come out, it will prove the trend of the last four years,” Wirths said.

Wirths said that last year’s preliminary numbers after Hurricane Sandy showed that 30,000 jobs were created, but when the benchmark numbers came out, the number was revised to 25,000.

The current numbers are worse than any, even during the recession, Wirths said. He thinks that the numbers are going to be corrected and they will tell a different story.

“The car sales are good, the home sales are good, the national home sales came out at a seven-year high. So all indicators are that the economy is in recovery; slower than we’d like but it is recovering and these numbers don’t make any sense. Thirty-six thousand was just an astronomical number that myself and most folks in my department just didn’t believe,” Wirths said.

People in New Jersey are feeling more optimistic than the national trend but people did leave the labor market, Wirths said. He said there are 10,000 people a day retiring, going back to school and starting their families and people that are leaving the labor market are just following a national trend.