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TRENTON-According to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the state added 13,000 private-sector jobs in July. But does this good news portend a long-term upward trend, or is it merely a one-month blip?

“New Jersey’s private-sector employment is trending in the right direction,” said Labor Commissioner David J. Socolow in a statement.

But while private companies added those 13,000 positions, 7,100 public-sector jobs were lost, making for a net gain of 5,900 in non-farm and salary employment in the Garden State in July. The state’s unemployment rate stood at 9.3%, a slight jump from the previous month’s level of 9.2%. That number is still below the national average of 9.4%.

Several employment sectors marked significant month-over-month increases in employment. Leisure and hospitality added 6,200 jobs, led by hiring in the arts, entertainment and recreation component [+ 5,300]. Next up were construction [+ 3,400]; professional and business services [+ 3,200]; and manufacturing [+ 3,100].

The trade, transportation and utilities sector registered the biggest employment loss–4,500–due to a drop of 2,600 positions in the wholesale trade subsector and a drop of 1,900 in transportation, warehousing and utilities. Registering smaller contractions were financial activities [- 600] and education and health services [- 500].

However, James Hughes, dean and professor at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, says that the gains reported this month are somewhat inconsistent with national trends and previous inclinations in the state. Generally speaking, New Jersey mirrors what happens nationally. “Sometimes we may do better, sometimes we may do worse, but there is not going to be major differences between the two,” Hughes says. “It could turn out to be just a one-month blip upward, and then we could see further job declines in the year to come.”

A case in point: While New Jersey gained jobs in manufacturing and construction, the nation as a whole lost 128,000 positions in those sectors in July. Moreover, after peaking in 1970, the state had witnessed 39 straight years of declines in manufacturing employment before last month’s addition of 3,100 slots. “Growth of that scale in a single month is difficult to explain,” Hughes tells Globe.St.com.

Also, nationwide, 9,000 jobs were rung up in leisure and hospitality. “Did we really account for two-thirds of the national job growth” in that sector? Hughes asks. “Maybe we are becoming the new leisure and hospitality state. There are some real anomalies in the numbers.”

Yet Hughes points out that the numbers are typically revised a month after they are released. For instance, NJLWD lowered its previously released June estimate downward by 1,000, for a revised May-to-June job loss of 3,100.

As for the discrepancy between the monthly gain in jobs concurrent with a rise in unemployment, Hughes says it could be explained in part by the fact that the job numbers come from employers while the unemployment rate is based on a survey of households. Occasionally, there is a disconnect between the two.

“For the US, there was a loss of private sector employment in July, but the unemployment rate went down,” Hughes says. “New Jersey had an increase in private sector employment but the unemployment rate went up. That’s what makes things interesting when they don’t go in the same direction. And it makes it harder to interpret what is going on in the economy, and just increases the uncertainty of us figuring out what is happening.”

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