- Associated Press - Thursday, August 20, 2015

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey’s July unemployment rate fell to 5.9 percent, its lowest level since September 2008.

New Bureau of Labor Statistics figures released Thursday show the state’s rate has fallen 0.2 percentage points from the previous month.

Despite the lower rate, New Jersey’s economy contracted by almost 14,000 jobs in July. The state also revised the number of jobs lost in June from 7,400 to 12,500.

New Jersey’s labor participation rate also dropped slightly in July to 63.9 percent, down from 64.1 percent in June. That’s above the national rate of 62.6 percent.

New Jersey added roughly 20,000 jobs from July 2014 through July 2015.

The report comes as Gov. Chris Christie seeks the Republican presidential nomination.

It’s the last report before the presidential debate on Sept. 16.

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