NJ jobless rate dips to 8.6 pct, 4th drop in a row

NJ jobless rate dips to 8.6 percent for May, 4th straight drop as job gains put at 14,300

Associated Press

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- For the fourth consecutive month, New Jersey's jobless rate has dropped.

The state Labor Department said Thursday that unemployment stood at 8.6 percent in May, a tenth of a percentage point lower than a month earlier.

Preliminary data show the state added 14,300 jobs.

Job gains in April, however, were not as good as first estimated.

The Labor Department said more complete data show New Jersey added only 900 nonfarm jobs in April, not 3,300 as had been calculated.

Despite a drop in the unemployment rate for four straight months, the state's jobless figure stands 1 percentage point higher than the national average. However, that represents an improvement. The state rate had been running closer to 2 percentage points higher than the U.S. average.

Industries with significant job growth included professional and business services, up 5,500; education and health services, up 4,500; and trade, transportation, and utilities, up 4,200, preliminary data showed.

Estimates showed manufacturing losing 900 jobs.

Public sector employment was down 1,100 in May, with a gain of 2,600 local jobs offset by a decline of 3,800 state jobs, according to preliminary data.

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