Making Sense of New Jersey’s Unemployment Rate

Despite New Jersey’s addition of 2,600 jobs in April — the seventh gain over the past eight months, New Jersey’s unemployment rate increased by .1 percent in April, bringing the total unemployed in the Garden State to 9.1 percent.

Scott Rothbort, a professor of the Stillman School of Business at Seton Hall with 20 years experience in the financial services industry, told NJTV the unemployment numbers don’t surprise him, and are in fact in keeping with trends in the metropolitan region as well as across the country.


On May 17, NJTV Managing Editor Mike Schneider (@SchneiderNJTV) spoke with Seton Hall Professor Scott Rothbort, who says he does not expect another recession. Video courtesy of NJ Today.

Rothbort said the unemployment rate went up despite the addition of new jobs because fewer people are looking for jobs. Jobs that are being created are in the service industry and the hospitality and hotel industry, he said.

“So while you have perhaps about the same amount to maybe a little bit fewer people who are unemployed since there are less people who are technically looking for jobs according to the way in which the data is accounted for, then it looks like we have higher unemployment rates even when we’re creating jobs,” he said. “It’s distortive.”

In New York City, more jobs were added in January than any month in the past 23 years, according to the Wall Street Journal’s analysis of new Labor Department data, and gains have been made in both the technology sector and in film and television production.

But not everything is looking up. A report just released by Manufacturers’ News Inc., an Illinois-based publisher of employment data, said industrial jobs in New Jersey declined 2.1 percent over the past year. According to the report, New Jersey lost 8,910 manufacturing jobs from December 2010 to December 2011, which was less than the 3.3 percent loss reported for the state over the 2009-2010 survey period.

New York state saw an uptick in manufacturing activity in May 2012.

Rothbort said that while some are predicting another recession this year, he does not believe that’s going to happen.

“We’re seeing…green shoots beginning to happen,” Rothbort said, adding that the economy was improving in the United States but not at the rate we’re used to.



MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.


© WNET All Rights Reserved.

825 Eighth Avenue

New York, NY 10019