Pandemic led to historic job losses for NJ in April

The unemployment rate in New Jersey surged to a record-breaking 15.3 percent in April because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

At least 757,700 jobs were lost in the state in April, according to estimates released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Both the private and public sectors recorded losses as the mandatory shut down of business activities and the stay-at-home order continued in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. About 750,100 private-sector jobs were lost in April, and about 7,600 public-sector job losses were recorded.

State officials said the decrease in non-farm payrolls and the increase in the unemployment rate both represent record-setting monthly shifts for the state.

Over the two-month span since February, prior to the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in New Jersey, employment in the state has dropped by 832,800, nearly 20 percent of total employment.

In April, employment decreases were recorded in all nine major private industry sectors. The largest decrease was recorded in the leisure and hospitality sector with a loss of 236,500 jobs, followed by trade, transportation, and utilities with a loss of 157,500 jobs, education and health services with a loss of 113,100 jobs, professional and business services with a loss of 90,100 jobs, other services with a loss of 57,200 jobs, construction with a loss of 43,800 jobs, manufacturing with a loss of 33,900 jobs, financial activities with a loss of12,800 jobs, and information with a loss of 5,100 jobs.

Officials said preliminary data for the month of May will be released on June 18.