Counties with the highest unemployment in New Jersey

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February 9, 2024
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Counties with the highest unemployment in New Jersey

While today's unemployment rates are significantly lower than the COVID-19 pandemic peak of 14.7% experienced in April 2020, the fear of job losses remains as workers stare down an uncertain economic future.

Experts are mixed in their views of a potential recession. The return of student loan payments, continually high gas prices, persistent inflation, and insurance price escalations are just a few of the factors that could limit consumer spending and potentially prompt another recession. The last economic recession before the pandemic—the Great Recession of 2007-09—sent unemployment rates up to 10% as of October 2009, and a full recovery took years.

But as of January 2024, the national unemployment rate remains relatively low at 3.7%—unchanged from the previous month and up slightly from January 2023. Regional and state employment varies widely depending on local economies. Seasonally adjusted unemployment rates by state demonstrate a rather sizable spectrum, ranging from just 1.9% in Maryland to 5.4% in Nevada.

Stacker compiled a list of counties with the highest unemployment rates in New Jersey using Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Counties are ranked by their preliminary unemployment rate in December 2023, with initial ties broken by the number of unemployed people within that county, though some ties may remain. County unemployment rates are released about a month behind the national numbers. County-level unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted.

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#21. Hunterdon County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.5%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.1 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.1 percentage points
- Total labor force: 69,192 people (2,405 unemployed)

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Mihai_Andritoiu // Shutterstock

#20. Morris County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.6%
--- 1-month change: No change
--- 1-year change: Up 1.2 percentage points
- Total labor force: 272,613 people (9,715 unemployed)

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#19. Mercer County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.7%
--- 1-month change: No change
--- 1-year change: Up 1.1 percentage points
- Total labor force: 223,874 people (8,322 unemployed)

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#18. Somerset County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.8%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.1 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.3 percentage points
- Total labor force: 181,986 people (6,962 unemployed)

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#17. Monmouth County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.8%
--- 1-month change: No change
--- 1-year change: Up 1.1 percentage points
- Total labor force: 351,334 people (13,491 unemployed)

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#16. Bergen County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.8%
--- 1-month change: No change
--- 1-year change: Up 1.2 percentage points
- Total labor force: 511,109 people (19,268 unemployed)

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#15. Burlington County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 3.9%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.1 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.1 percentage points
- Total labor force: 253,384 people (9,888 unemployed)

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#14. Warren County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.1%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.3 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.3 percentage points
- Total labor force: 60,089 people (2,446 unemployed)

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#13. Middlesex County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.1%
--- 1-month change: No change
--- 1-year change: Up 1.4 percentage points
- Total labor force: 465,830 people (18,888 unemployed)

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#12. Sussex County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.3%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.3 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.2 percentage points
- Total labor force: 78,908 people (3,383 unemployed)

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#11. Ocean County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.3%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.2 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.2 percentage points
- Total labor force: 301,518 people (12,950 unemployed)

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#10. Gloucester County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.5%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.3 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.4 percentage points
- Total labor force: 165,194 people (7,362 unemployed)

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#9. Hudson County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.5%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.1 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.6 percentage points
- Total labor force: 383,474 people (17,091 unemployed)

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#8. Union County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.7%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.1 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.4 percentage points
- Total labor force: 294,094 people (13,901 unemployed)

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#7. Camden County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 4.9%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.3 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.4 percentage points
- Total labor force: 277,624 people (13,630 unemployed)

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Mihai_Andritoiu // Shutterstock

#6. Essex County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 5.6%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.2 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.7 percentage points
- Total labor force: 396,029 people (22,167 unemployed)

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#5. Passaic County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 5.7%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.4 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.9 percentage points
- Total labor force: 257,648 people (14,574 unemployed)

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#4. Salem County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 5.9%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.6 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.7 percentage points
- Total labor force: 31,274 people (1,856 unemployed)

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#3. Atlantic County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 6.1%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.4 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.6 percentage points
- Total labor force: 126,362 people (7,747 unemployed)

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#2. Cumberland County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 6.9%
--- 1-month change: Up 0.8 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 2.0 percentage points
- Total labor force: 70,831 people (4,889 unemployed)

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#1. Cape May County

- December unemployment rate (preliminary): 9.9%
--- 1-month change: Up 1.7 percentage points
--- 1-year change: Up 1.8 percentage points
- Total labor force: 47,400 people (4,714 unemployed)

This story features data reporting by Paxtyn Merten and is part of a series utilizing data automation across 50 states.

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