- Associated Press - Thursday, April 17, 2014

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Preliminary data show New Jersey’s unemployment rate inched up to 7.2 in March from 7.1 the previous month as the state lost 1,300 jobs.

The report released Thursday by the state Labor Department shows private sector employment declined by 700 jobs, but says that sector has added 2,200 jobs since March 2013. The latest report finds the public sector shedding 600 jobs.

The national jobless rate in March was 6.7 percent, a half percentage point lower than New Jersey’s.

State Treasury Department economist Charles Steindel says despite a flat start to employment in the first three months of 2014, economists expect job growth to kick into higher gear.

Steindel says in recent weeks, they’ve seen some of the lowest numbers of applications for unemployment insurance in many years.

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