If state Assemblyman John Wisniewski and his fellow Democratic legislators want to spur economic growth in New Jersey, he could start by counting the jobs that already have been created.
With about seven weeks left in the Legislature’s lame-duck session, Wisniewski said in a recent NJToday interview that creating jobs should be the Assembly’s number-one priority. As it is, new jobs are not being created in New Jersey, according to Wisniewski, who also is chairman of the state Democratic Party.
"We’ve seen far too long the governor’s rhetoric doesn’t match his actions," said Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) during the Nov. 21 interview. "While he talks about job creation, we don't see jobs being created in this state."
It didn’t take long for PolitiFact New Jersey to realize Wisniewski’s claim made no sense.
The state’s economy may not be gaining as much speed as we’d like, but the state has still seen an increase of nearly 40,000 private-sector jobs since January, according to the most recent seasonally adjusted data released by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Let’s see how the labor statistics break down.
A few days before Wisniewski made his statement, state officials released preliminary employment figures for October.
Compared with October 2010, public-sector jobs saw a year-over-year decrease of 5,600. But that loss was offset by an increase of 28,100 private-sector jobs since October 2010.
Thus, total non-farm employment in October stood at 3,868,700, marking a year-over-year increase of 22,500 jobs, or about 0.6 percent.
So, what was Wisniewski talking about?
The assemblyman’s communications director, Tim O’Donovan, told us Wisniewski was referring to figures released last month. O’Donovan pointed out how those figures show month-over-month decreases in total non-farm jobs in August and September.
But the latest data was available when Wisniewski made the claim. Also, according to Rutgers economics professor Joseph Seneca, one month is not a good indicator of employment changes, because single events can distort a given month.
"The standard approach would be to consider job changes over the past year (Oct 10 to Oct 11) or on a year to date basis (i.e. from Dec 10 through the latest month). Both of those measures indicate NJ is adding private sector jobs at a reasonable pace," Seneca told us in an email.
"The problem is that the recession losses were so large, the state has a long way to go to recover all the losses, but a start has been made in terms of private sector jobs," he added.
In a statement, Wisniewski said: "If the Ledger wants to credit the Governor with job creation when unemployment has barely budged over the past year that's out of my control, but, as far as I'm concerned, it's far too premature to be giving anyone credit for creating jobs given our chronic unemployment and fragile economy."
We’re not saying Republican Gov. Chris Christie is responsible for this job growth, but it’s worth noting that since he took office in January 2010, New Jersey has seen an increase of 41,600 private-sector jobs.
Blasting Christie for his "rhetoric" about job creation, Wisniewski claimed "we don't see jobs being created in this state."
The economic recovery may not be moving fast enough, but New Jersey has seen an increase in total non-farm jobs over the last year, driven by growth in the private-sector. Wisniewski should know better than to suggest otherwise.
We rate this statement False.
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