New Jersey's unemployment rate inched up to 9.9. percent in August despite the creation of 5,300 new jobs, prompting Gov. Chris Christie’s top economist to criticize the U.S. Department of Labor's method of determining the monthly rate as "kind of nuts."
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer
, state economist Charles Steindel said the rate is based on a Labor Department telephone survey of 2,000 households that are asked a number of employment questions. But he says a survey of New Jersey employers produced a more positive outlook, indicating the state has added jobs in 10 of the last 12 months.
"This is a nationwide problem. A lot of states are complaining about it," Steindel said in a conference call with reporters. "There are significant issues involved with how we are calculating those numbers."
State Democratic legislators, however, seized on the news to hammer the Christie administration.
"New Jersey is almost two points higher than the national unemployment average, and most of the recent gains were in the public sector, which certainly has not been the Christie administration's policy goal," said Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, adding the state's jobless rate "has increased under his watch."
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