N.J. lost thousands of jobs in May
The state unemployment rate continued to creep upward to 4.9 percent in May as New Jersey shed 6,800 jobs.
New Jersey's unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in April. The state Department of Labor and Workforce Development said the May job numbers reflect a seven week-long strike by Verizon workers.
About 4,600 New Jersey workers from Verizon's wireline division, which services its traditional landline phone service and fiber optic cable network for phone, video and Internet, walked off the job in mid-April in a contract dispute with the telecommunications giant.
They returned to work at the beginning of June.
That strike "idled approximately 5,000 workers in the information sector," said James Wooster, chief economist in the Treasury Department.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revised its estimates, however, for April to just 1,000 nonfarm job losses. It had previously estimated the state lost 7,500 jobs that month. That followed March, when New Jersey posted one of its strongest months for job gains.
The bureau reported 6,000 jobs lost in information; 3,400 in other services, 2,500 in leisure and hospitality; 1,400 in trade, transportation and utilities; 1,200 in education and health services; and 500 in financial activities. The state picked up 2,900 jobs in construction; 2,100 in manufacturing; and 1,500 in professional and business services.
"Like the national economic recovery, the New Jersey economic recovery is experiencing a slight pause," Wooster said in a statement. "This is only temporary, however, and we have every reason to expect growth throughout the remainder of 2016."