- Associated Press - Thursday, May 15, 2014

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey officials say the state unemployment rate dropped to 6.9 percent for April, its lowest level in more than five years.

The report released Thursday by the state Labor Department and based on data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the unemployment rate at 6.9 percent, down from 7.2 percent in March.

The report finds the state added 4,500 workers to payrolls in April. The biggest gains were in leisure and hospitality and trade, transportation and utilities. Public sector employment also grew, but more modestly.

Adding jobs is good news for a state where the unemployment rate had been dropping mostly because people stopped looking for work.

The survey finds that 3.9 million New Jersey residents are employed. That is just under 60 percent of residents.

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