Ilya Marritz covers business for WNYC.
New York State’s economy added 21,500 private sector jobs in March 2012, the State Labor Department reported Thursday. Unemployment in New York State remained unchanged at 8.5 percent.
But in a sign the economic recovery may be flagging in the region, New Jersey reported losing 9,000 jobs last month, What's more, the gains in the previous month's jobs estimate were revised downwards.
In New York City, employers added 11,500 jobs in the first quarter of 2012, making this the city's best quarter for job growth since the year 2000, according to analysis done by real estate services firm Eastern Consolidated.
And as the job market has improved in New York City, the number of jobseekers rose, actually pushing unemployment up a tenth of a percent to 9.7 percent.
But the increase in the unemployment rate at the same time employers were hiring people could be due to how economists survey job creation. One looks at employer payrolls, calculating the number of people working at a company, while the unemployment rate is determined through polls of people and households.
The job gains for both the city and the state continue to be strongest in business, education and health care industries. Economist Barbara Byrne Denham, with Eastern Consolidated, pointed to restaurants as showing the most surprising negative news, with a loss of 1,600 jobs in March.
Across the river in New Jersey, the jobless rate held steady at 9 percent.
Employment declined in seven out of ten industry sectors, with significant losses in construction, waste management, and private education.
Charles Steindel, chief economist for the Department of Treasury, suggested the warm winter weather may now be a drag on job growth because payrolls swelled in previous months.
“The majority of indicators suggest that New Jersey employment growth will continue over the long term, creating a stronger economy for everyone,” Steindel said, in a statement.