New Jersey has still not recovered all of the jobs lost during the great recession, but the latest figures released Thursday by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development revealed the state is moving in the right direction, albeit slowly.

The state added almost 5,000 jobs in September cutting the unemployment rate to its lowest level since Gov. Chris Christie first took office after being elected in November of 2009.

Displaced casino workers file for unemployment at the Atlantic City Convention Center. (Jessica Kourkounis, Getty Images)

"The real good news is the unemployment rate fell to 5.6 percent. This is nine-tenths of a drop since May so the unemployment rate has really been dropping nicely in New Jersey,” said Labor commissioner Hal Wirths. “When the governor came into office we were at 9.8 percent and now we’re down to 5.6. That’s the lowest since 2008.”

The numbers are preliminary and could be revised up or down. The original figures for August reflected that New Jersey had added 13,800 jobs, but the new numbers showed 15,500 jobs were actually added.

“For the month of September New Jersey created over 4,700 jobs, the bulk of them in the private sector. The national unemployment rate sits at 5.1 percent and New Jersey’s is at 5.6,” Wirths said.

In September, private sector growth was reported in four major industry sectors. The positive figures in descending order were:

  • Construction (+2,800)
  • Leisure and hospitality (+2,700)
  • Education and health services (+2,200)
  • Other services (+800)

“I always say our work’s not done until everybody who is looking for a job has a job, but these are very, very good numbers,” Wirths said.

Job losses in private areas included:

  • Manufacturing (-2,400)
  • Information (-1,000)
  • Professional and business services (-1,000)
  • Trade, transportation, and utilities (-600)