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NJ Labor Department: State Unemployment Rate Unchanged

People looking for work at a career fair fill out applications on April 17, 2009 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

People looking for work at a career fair fill out applications on April 17, 2009 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – New Jersey‘s unemployment rate held steady in April as the state added 14,000 jobs. It was the third straight month of job increases.

State Labor Department data released Thursday show the unemployment rate for April was 9.3 percent, unchanged from the previous month.

Officials say the overall workforce continued to grow as more so-called discouraged workers who’d quit looking for a time resumed their search for jobs.

Nearly all the jobs added in New Jersey last month came in the private sector, which added 13,400 jobs. The biggest boosts came in the trade, transportation and utilities category.

The U.S. unemployment rate increased from 8.8 percent to 9 percent during April. New Jersey added 14,000 jobs in April, the third consecutive month of gains, as unemployment held steady at 9.3 percent, the state reported Thursday.

Almost all the increase came in the private sector, which added 13,400 jobs as the government sector added 600, according to the monthly jobs report by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Unemployment is now slightly above the national rate of 9 percent.

The report also revised downward the state’s addition of 4,600 jobs in March to a gain of 4,300.

“The private-sector job gain is extremely encouraging, with the fairly substantial increase showing that the recovery may be gaining a bit of momentum,” said Charles Steindel, Chief Economist for the New Jersey Department of Treasury. He added that “pickups in sectors such as manufacturing and retailing (suggest) that a larger cross-section of the state’s economy is starting to benefit.”

Five of the state’s 10 biggest job sectors added jobs in April, with the biggest gain in trade, transportation, and utilities, which increased employment by 8,300. That consisted of 4,200 jobs in retail, 1,800 in wholesale and 2,300 in transportation and warehousing.

Manufacturing added 3,200 jobs, and the education and health services sector and leisure and hospitality sector each added
2,700.

The biggest loss came in the information sector, which lost 1,700 jobs. Employment in financial services declined by 1,100.

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(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)