As of November 2017, New Jersey had 4,136,700 private sector jobs, the highest level of such jobs in the state’s history. This employment number is 86,400 more jobs than the peak employment before the last recession and 334,400 more jobs than were held by employees in the Garden State in February 2010, the low employment level during the last recession, according to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to the state Dept. of Labor, in a Dec. 21 news release, “Jobs Reach Historic Peak In New Jersey; Private Sector Employment is Higher Than Ever Before.”

During just the twelve months ending in November 2017, the Garden State added 45,400 private sector jobs with 13,300 of those in just the past 2 months.

New Jersey’s labor participation rate of 63.3% continues to beat the national average of 62.7%. However, because our economy has been improving and more people have started looking for jobs, the unemployment rate has been rising, so clearly more businesses need to be attracted to New Jersey or encouraged to start in the state.

As the chair of the New Jersey Partnership for Action, Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno has been the person primarily responsible for implementing New Jersey’s economic growth strategies, which fostered NJ’s private-sector job growth. Since taking office in 2010 she has been working to cut government red tape, recruit new businesses and help existing businesses stay and grow in New Jersey. With her leadership, New Jersey was able to cut the number of pages of state regulations in half. Her efforts helped bring New Jersey’s unemployment rate down from an above the national average 9.8% in January 2010 to a below the national average 4.1% by July 2017, before that rate began increasing due to people being encouraged to reenter the workforce.

Clearly, more hard work needs to be done to attract and keep businesses in the Garden State. The question is will the incoming Phil Murphy administration be willing and able to continue to attract companies here with Murphy’s promises of higher taxes, or will Senate President Steve Sweeney be able to moderate Murphy’s desire to raise taxes?

Rich Miner

Sparta Municipal Republican Chair