Nearly 12,000 New Jersey residents lost their jobs in July, according to figures released Thursday by the state Department of Labor.
About 6,000 private sector and 5,800 public sector employees found themselves out of work in July, bucking a five-month trend of job gains, the labor department said.
Despite that, New Jersey’s unemployment rate ticked down a tenth of a percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 8.6 percent, the labor department said.
The state’s unemployment rate is above the national rate of 7.4 percent, but has dropped from the 9.7 statewide rate in July 2012.
Gov. Chris Christie’s office said the drop in the unemployment rate was the “latest indicator of positive economic growth.’’
“Under the fiscal policies of Governor Christie, the long-term economic picture is positive,” said Colin Reed, a Christie spokesman, in a note circulated to reporters. “The state is moving in the right direction after the disastrous years of the Corzine administration.”
The jobs report indicated that the long-term outlook was positive, with private sector employment expanding by 68,500 jobs in the last year, the report said.
The dip in employment for July was to be expected, according to the Christie administration. There were July job losses in five of the last six years, Reed said.
State Sen. Barbara Buono, who is running against Christie in November, saw things differently.
“(Christie’s) only job creation plan has been to protect the millionaires and subsidize corporations with no accountability,” Buono said in a release. “Clearly, this is not working.”
Those New Jersey residents who are employed are working longer and bringing home less, according to the report.
Over the month of July, the workweek for production workers increased by just shy of an hour to 41.3 hours. Hourly wages were 33-cents lower to $18.85, but and weekly earnings rose by $3.64 to $778.51, the report says.
Compared to July of last year, the workweek has increased by 30 minutes, average hourly earnings have declined by $.84, and weekly earnings were lower by $24.84, the report says.
Of the nine industries the labor department tracks, only four gained jobs in July.
The trade, transportation and utilities industry was the big winner, gaining 3,700 jobs. The financial sector gained 1,200 jobs, with manufacturing attracting 300 and information adding 100 jobs, the report says.
The big losers in July were the leisure and hospitality industry, which lost 3,100 jobs and the professional and health services industry, which lost 2,300 jobs. Construction lost 2,000 jobs, education and health services lost 1,900 and other service industries reported 1,900 jobs lost, according to the report.