New Jersey’s unemployment rate fell to 3.3% in July, the lowest its been since the state began keeping records in 1976.
Public policy experts said it was part of a positive economic trend for the Garden State. “Basically this is a continuation of good economic news for the state,” said James Hughes, a professor at Rutgers-New Brunswick. “There have been some economic headwinds the past several months, but the economy is still moving forward.”
But more people working does not mean people are not struggling, according to Stephanie Hoopes, a national director with the United Way.
“It’s always good to hear that the economy is improving,” Hoopes said. “But when you dig into the numbers, it is especially concerning in New Jersey. You see that most of those gains were in industries that commonly have low-paying jobs.” Those industries include education and health services as well as leisure and hospitality, where Hoopes said wages can be low and hours unpredictable.
According to preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, New Jersey’s jobless rate is slightly lower than the national unemployment rate of 3.7%.