TRENTON – New Jersey’s economy lost jobs in October for the first time in nearly two years, snapping the state’s longest streak of job growth since at least the 1980s.

Preliminary estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Thursday by the state labor department show that private-sector jobs grew for the 30th consecutive month – but that 6,700 increase was eclipsed by a loss of 8,000 public-sector jobs.

Combined that leads to a drop of 1,300 jobs in October, the first decline since November 2020.

Eight out of nine private-industry sectors recorded job growth – all except financial activities. The biggest gains were in trade, transportation, and utilities, up 2,400; professional and business services, up 1,900; and education and health services, up 1,700.

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Most of the public sector job losses were in local government, accounting for 7,800 fewer jobs. That reversed an unusually large increase in September.

The overall job loss was small, and it’s possible the revisions next month could show there was actually a gain. September’s employment report initially showed an increase of 3,800 jobs, but that has been revised upward by 9,100 to show a gain of 12,900.

The unemployment rate rose by 0.2 percentage points to 3.5% in October due to people re-entering the labor force seeking a job. The labor force was 23,900 larger than one month earlier when the total fell by an unusual amount, and it is now at its largest size since June 2021.

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