Salem County Board of Chosen Freeholders
94 Market Street. Salem, N.J. 08079

CONTACT: Rita Shade Simpson,
Clerk of the Board/Administrator

September 25, 2002


SALEM – Freeholder Director Dave Sparks said today that Salem County’s unemployment rate dropped nearly 1 percent in August, mirroring the trend in the rest of the state and in the Southern counties.

Salem County’s unemployment rate fell from 6.4% in July to 5.5% in August, averaging 5.8 for the first eight months of 2002, according to figures released by the New Jersey Department of Labor.

"Salem County is tracking with the rest of the state. We are not being left behind as New Jersey and the nation emerge from the recession," said Sparks. "Salem County is fortunate to have a diversified and stabilized job base. However, our labor force was negatively affected by recent technology job losses in Gloucester County."

Sparks said the closing of Compaq in Pureland put 110 workers from Salem County out of jobs.

The unemployment rate is based on the number of people who are eligible and able to work, but who cannot find jobs. According to the NJDOL report, there are 31,500 people in the Salem County work force, of which 29,700 are employed. Those jobs may be located in the county or elsewhere.

"According to leading state economists," said Sparks, "the recession in New Jersey ended in July, but the economy is flat and growth will come very slowly. Essentially, it is a ‘jobless recovery.’ The economy is improving, but without significant job growth. "

"In the first half of this year, job growth in the central part of the state has been only a fraction of a percent," said Sparks. "In the Southern counties, which always track behind the rest of New Jersey, even fewer new jobs were created."


Statewide, the unemployment rate is 5.3%, a drop of two tenths of a percent from July.

Gloucester County’s unemployment rate is 5.1%, down from 5.7%. Cumberland County’s jobless rate is 7.4%, down from 8.4%.

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