By Associated Press - Tuesday, March 17, 2015

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Newly released numbers show New Jersey’s unemployment rate held steady at 6.3 percent in January as more people in the state found work and more looked for jobs.

Figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that 4.26 million residents had jobs in January. That figure is within 30,000 of employment in 2008, the high before the full effect of the Great Recession.

If the jobs for the state’s workers are added at the same rate as they were in 2013 and 2014, New Jersey would have an all-time high in employment later in 2015.

The data also revised the number of job gains the state saw in 2013 and 2014, showing the state added nearly 76,000 jobs in that time. Previous federal reports pegged job growth for those two years at a total of 48,000.

At a town hall meeting in Freehold, Christie touted the numbers, saying that the state had created 180,000 jobs and that unemployment had dropped significantly on his watch.

In January, the job growth was largely in the construction and service sectors and in transportation, trade and utilities.

The professional and business services industry suffered overall job losses in January.

New Jersey’s unemployment rate was higher than the national rate of 5.7 percent for January.

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