When it comes to private-sector jobs, New Jersey’s numbers are just getting better and better, according to Gov. Chris Christie.
Job growth in New Jersey was just one of the topics Christie highlighted Tuesday when he presented a $32.9 billion budget for fiscal year 2013-2014 to the state Legislature.
"Since January 2010, New Jersey has added 103,000 new private sector jobs," Christie said. "The last two years -- 2011 and 2012 -- have been the best two years of private sector job growth since 1999."
Is the state finally seeing some sustained job growth since the official end of the recession more than three years ago? We determined that the governor’s numbers are generally correct, but his timeframe is off slightly.
Let’s look at official jobs numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The total number of private-sector jobs in New Jersey in February 2010 – the first full month the governor was in office – was 3,197,600. The number in December 2012 was 3,300,800. That’s a net gain of 103,200 jobs.
If we measure from January 2010 to December 2012, the net gain is 97,600 private-sector jobs.
"While the Governor may have slipped in saying we grew 103,200 private sector jobs since January 2010, he has always otherwise cited the state’s job growth since February 2010, his first full month in office," spokesman Michael Drewniak said in an e-mail. "Aside from being the Governor’s first full month in office, February 2010 also is an important point in time because it marks the low point for private sector employment during the recession."
Now let’s look at private-sector job growth during the past two years, since Christie said it’s the best it’s been since 1999.
If 2011 and 2012 gains are combined, the total number of private-sector jobs added in New Jersey is 79,500 jobs (33,400 in 2011 and 46,100 in 2012), according to data from the BLS and Joseph J. Seneca, an economics professor with the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University in New Brunswick.
The combined total confirms that the two years are the best for private-sector job growth in New Jersey since 1999, when the state added 99,500 private-sector jobs.
Overall the news is upbeat, Seneca told us.
"This represents a strong and highly encouraging trend," Seneca said in an e-mail. "There is still a distance to go to recover all the private sector jobs lost during the recession (248,000 jobs were lost from the state’s previous peak level in January 2008 to the trough level reached in February 2010)."
Seneca also noted that the nation’s private-sector job gains are quite a bit higher, but that has to do, in part, with "strong job growth in several of the energy producing states," he said.
The liberal New Jersey Policy Perspective noted Friday that the state still has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.
"New Jersey is still mired in the basement with the 4th highest unemployment rate in the nation. Worse, we’re one of only two states that saw its rate increase from 2011 (from 9.4 to 9.5)," NPP president Gordon MacInnes said in a statement after the BLS on Friday released the 2012 annual average unemployment rates for each state. "This should pour ice water on New Jersey’s leaders. The problem is not tax rates - the problem is jobs."
Christie said during his budget address Tuesday that, "Since January 2010, New Jersey has added 103,000 new private sector jobs. The last two years -- 2011 and 2012 -- have been the best two years of private sector job growth since 1999."
The governor is right that New Jersey has gained 103,000 new private-sector jobs since 2010, but that’s counting from February 2010, his first full month in office. He cited job growth from January 2010.
Christie also is correct that 2011 and 2012 represent the best two years of private-sector job growth since 1999, according to BLS data and calculations from a Rutgers University economist.
We rate his claim Mostly True.
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