In Brief

New Jersey continues slow economic recovery, adding 20K jobs in August

By: - September 17, 2021 6:45 am

The state has recovered 61% of the 717,200 jobs lost during the pandemic. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

After the pandemic led to widespread business closures and crushing job losses, New Jersey’s crawl to economic recovery continues.

The state recovered another 20,300 jobs in August, the eighth straight month of gains. That brings the total number of jobs recovered since the height of the pandemic to 468,600, marking the return of about 65% of jobs lost in March and April 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Thursday.

The unemployment rate declined 0.1 points to 7.2%, but remains among the highest in the nation. July’s employment estimates were revised to include another 21,200 jobs.

While previous jobs reports showed major gains being made largely in the private sector, August’s increase was split between the private and public sectors, BLS data shows.

In the private sector, the professional and business services sector saw the biggest gains, at 3,700 jobs. Education and health closely followed with 3,100 jobs, and the leisure and hospitality industry — which took the worst hit during the pandemic — recovered 2,700 jobs. The manufacturing industry increased jobs by 1,900, and construction saw an additional 500 jobs added. Financial activities added 200 positions.

The public sector recorded 10,100 new jobs, focused at the local level as schools returned to in-person learning.

Some sectors are reporting losses, including trade, transportation, and utilities, which lost 500 jobs, and information, which saw 200 job losses. The other services sector, which includes industries like pet grooming, parking businesses, and advocacy organizations, saw 1,200 jobs lost.

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Sophie Nieto-Munoz
Sophie Nieto-Munoz

Sophie Nieto-Muñoz, a New Jersey native and former Trenton statehouse reporter for, shined a spotlight on the state’s crumbling unemployment system and won several awards for investigative reporting from the New Jersey Press Association. She was a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists for her report on PetSmart's grooming practices, which was also recognized by the New York Press Club. Sophie speaks Spanish and is proud to connect to the Latinx community through her reporting.