New Jersey’s Job Market Ready to Break Winter-Spring Doldrums?

By John Pattenjobmarket

After taking a tumble last fall that hasn’t been made up yet, New Jersey’s job market is still showing signs of overall improvement, according to some analysts — which might make your next job application your last.

Many of us at PSGCNJ have been feeling winter’s bite on jobs, and it is no surprise: the harsh weather helped lead to big job losses in the state (more than 19,000 jobs in December!) that made many of us feel as gray as the skies in February (when we lost another 6,000 jobs).

While many parts of the nation have been showing gains in employment, New Jersey has been stagnant for the last six months. But a growing number of forecasters say the job market is actually growing — sort of like the tomatoes you planted two weeks ago: slowly and maybe a bit underground, but almost ready to burst forth.

Take Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors, who looked at April’s jobs report for the New Jersey Business and Industrial Association (JBIA) and concluded that sunny days are nearing.

“Wow! That is the best way to describe the April employment report,” he wrote for the NJBIA. “Payrolls surged and the gains were across the entire economy. Yes, there was lots of hiring in the more traditional low paying areas such as retail, restaurants and temporary positions, but those gains were generally not out of the normal.

“At the same time we had solid increases in construction, manufacturing, wholesaling, professional and technical services, health care and education, all good paying industries,” Naroff said.

That’s good news for the unemployed, even though the state is still behind the peak labor figures prior to the 2007 recession. According to the state’s latest estimates, New Jersey still needs to gain about 160,000 jobs to reach the employment number of January 2008 (4,092,200). It will take a long time limping along as the state has been lately, but Naroff still views the recent data in a positive light.

And despite the troubles, Department of Labor projects growth in New Jersey in the coming years for most of the industries PSGCNJ members target for employment — even hard-hit businesses like the pharmas.

The projections show a slowdown in employment opportunities for those in information and Internet fields, but great opportunities for researchers.

Want to chase the best opportunities? The projections show the most growth in consulting and services—computer design services, management, scientific and technical consulting are expected to show more than 20 percent growth between 2010 and 2010.

Of course, all the forecasts and predictions in the world will not get you your next job if you are not staying focused on taking the steps you need — that is why you are a member of PSGCNJ, of course — but they can help you understand what is happening across the state and how it may be impacting your job search.

Employment projections

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