Preliminary data shows New Jersey’s unemployment rate stayed at 9.5 percent in January, the same as the previous month, but state labor officials insist there is some very good news in the numbers.

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Just released figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show non-farm employment gains for 2012 totaled 64, 400 jobs, 18,400 more than previously thought.

“The revised numbers provide further confirmation that New Jersey’s labor market has been strengthening.  What we saw as firm job growth is now shown to have been even higher.  The ongoing surge in the state’s labor force count shows that residents are increasingly willing to search for employment in this better environment,” says Charles Steindel, the Chief Economist for the New Jersey Department of Treasury.

A release put out by the State Labor Department says the employment gains for last year in New Jersey were the highest in more than a decade, and 2012 marked a third consecutive year of private sector employment gains for the State.

The release also points out six of the nine major private industry sectors of the New Jersey economy gained jobs over the December 2011 to December 2012 period. The largest gains were recorded in professional and business services (+22,700), education and health services (+16,400), trade, transportation and utilities (+10,600), leisure and hospitality (+7,400), other services (+4,400) and financial activities (+3,300). Industry sectors that contracted over the year included manufacturing (-2,100), construction (-2,000), and information (-1,500).