Aug 16 New Jersey's unemployment rate rose in
July for the fourth month in a row to 9.8 percent, a record high
since 1977, according to data released by the state Department
of Labor on Thursday.
July's jobless rate in the Garden State was up from 9.6
percent in June and from 9.4 percent in July 2011, the
preliminary numbers showed.
Democrats seized on the data to blast Republican Governor
Chris Christie's self-proclaimed "comeback" for New Jersey.
"There is no way to interpret this other than bad," said New
Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney, a Democrat, in a
statement. "What I want to see is this administration admit it
is failing in terms of getting people back to work."
Sweeney said he wanted Christie's administration to "either
get out of the way or come up with an actual idea" to help the
state's recovery from the recession.
Christie, the keynote speaker for the Republican national
convention later this month, was regarded as a strong candidate
to be Republican Mitt Romney's vice presidential running mate
until Romney picked U.S. Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin
The national unemployment rate in July also edged up 0.1
percent to 8.3 percent in July, according to the U.S. Bureau of
"The national economy has been sluggish and, realistically,
we can't be exempt," New Jersey's chief economist, Charles
Steindel said in a statement on Thursday. "Given the national
softness and the strength of our job gains in May and June some
fallback was likely."
In releasing its preliminary data, New Jersey noted that
private sector employers have added 79,000 jobs since February
2010 and that the "long-term employment trend continues to be
positive." The state also lost a total of 12,000 jobs in July,
the department said.
New Jersey's jobless rate last hit this level in April 1977,
when it stood at 9.9 percent, according to BLS data.
In December 2009, it reached 9.7 percent and hovered there
for several months, but then began to inch down again until
hitting 9.0 percent in January 2012.