New Jersey labor officials say the state's employment picture in 2010 was slightly better than initially believed.
Adjusted data released Thursday by the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development indicates that private sector jobs actually grew last year instead of falling, while the decline in public sector employment was overestimated.
Overall, New Jersey gained 5,200 private sector jobs and lost 22,200 public sector jobs from December 2009 to December 2010, or a net loss of 17,000 jobs. Preliminary estimates had indicated a loss of 29,100 public sector jobs, and 1,600 private sector jobs.
The revised data means the state unemployment rate averaged 9.5 percent in 2010. The number trended lower through the year, from a high of 9.8 percent in January to a low of 9.1 percent in December.
The state's unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.1 percent for January, just above the U.S. rate of 9 percent. The rate remained stable even though the state lost 13,000 jobs overall for that month, with decreases reported in both the private and public sectors.
The largest private sector loses were in professional and business service (4,000), manufacturing (1,800) and education and health services (1,400). The only industry sector to post a net increase was trade, transportation and utilities (4,400), with all the job gain in retail trade (6,700).
Public sector employment was lower by 5,900 as losses at the state (3,800) and local government levels (2,600) outpaced a small gain in federal employment (500).