The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Office of Research and Information provides a host of regularly updated labor market information data sets to the Greater Raritan Workforce Development Board on a quarterly basis. The area’s labor market analyst also is available to help the GRWDB staff with market-specific requests initiated by different parties, including businesses and individuals.
The coronavirus pandemic, however, has upended many of the businesses and trends of the past several years. This includes who is working, statewide and in Somerset and Hunterdon counties. After a surge in unemployment filings in the spring of 2020, numbers have steadily declined over the past year, but the unemployment rate in the two counties is roughly double what it was before the pandemic began – currently at around 6 to 7 percent. GRWDB staff, working with state partners, continue to share the latest information with board and committee members, governmental officials and local businesses, to support present and future decision-making around resources and employment needs.
The Greater Raritan Unemployment Tracker was developed by Somerset County Geographic Information Systems using state data sets.
To support this direction, the GRWDB launched the Greater Raritan Unemployment Tracker for Hunterdon and Somerset counties. The site was developed by Somerset County Geographic Information Systems (GIS) using data compiled by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s LMI Bureau within the Office of Research and Information. The data used for this site comes from self-reported unemployment claims and not all claimants fill out all available fields.
But the tracker, which is updated weekly with new unemployment claims, helps create a picture of which sectors have been impacted most heavily since the pandemic began, and provides directional guidance for programs from the board and its partners. The GRWDB also has detailed characteristics of the newly unemployed which provide further details on how is being impacted and which industries may need additional support.
The GRWDB’s employer-transportation interactive mapping application is designed as a tool for job seekers.
The Somerset County GIS department, which built and maintains the Unemployment Tracker, has created a second searchable map application focusing on the top 25 employers in Hunterdon and Somerset Counties with the most job postings in a quarterly period.
The application maps those employers’ locations with public transit networking including Somerset and NJ Transit bus routes as well as NJ Transit rail lines and stations. Each pin on the map represents the top 25 employers in the two counties, and each pin includes that employer’s website and Google street view . Users can navigate through the platform, searching by Resources (links to the National Labor Exchange jobs site, Ridewise and goHunterdon); Employer List; Employers Near Me with transit information; and Directions to map routes.
Among the resources developed by the Office of Research and Information is the Labor Demands Occupation List, available in a searchable database careerservices.nj.gov. This list, effective July 1, 2020, aggregates several factors to reach its conclusions, including the occupation’s total employment, its short-term historical growth, and whether it has a strong projected growth rate. This list is used in different ways to support many programs, including approval for training courses for those in the One-Stop system.
While the labor demand occupation list is based on a comprehensive analysis of supply and demand factors on a statewide basis, state officials recognize that local labor market conditions may differ from those determined for the state. Local Workforce Development Boards can request that additional occupations be added to the labor demand list for their area if they demonstrate that there is a “significant excess of demand over supply for adequately trained workers” in the surrounding labor market area. More information on this process can be found on the state Department of Labor website.
LOCAL LABOR ANALYSIS
While unemployment is at a record high, businesses are hiring. This is reflected in the recent quarterly reports created for the GRWDB:
These state reports use Burning Glass data to provide near real-time data about job postings in the area and around the state.
Census information can be combined with other data sets to produce an array of reports. Following are two reports produced at the end of July 2020, to reflect labor demographic information in our two counties over the past year:
In addition, these reports can be compared to the following sets produced by the state prior to the coronavirus pandemic:
At the September 26, 2019, GRWDB Meeting, the Greater Raritan’s labor market analyst offered a comprehensive Labor Market Information Overview, detailing in-demand certificates, top baseline skills, job postings data, occupational analyses and much more.
MORE DATA TO REVIEW
Additionally, the NJ DLWD offers reports detailing labor market information such as unemployment rates as well as employment trends. Browse the most recent reports covering the entire State of New Jersey below.
For more NJDOL labor market information, visit the Labor Market Information website and explore key industry reports, employment and wage outcomes, local employment dynamics and a suite of other research resources.
Of particular interest are nine New Jersey key Industry Sectors reports. Industry sectors are the engines that drive job expansion and attract new businesses in New Jersey. This nine reports of New Jersey’s industry sectors are provided in a more accessible and usable format to help keep New Jersey’s industry sectors in focus. The sectors are: Health Care; Life Sciences; Transportation, Distribution and Logistics; Retail; Leisure and Hospitality; Financial Services; Manufacturing; Technology; and Construction – Utilities.
The NJDOL site also offers a County Briefs link, which provides county-specific labor market facts such as employment, largest industry, population totals, educational attainment, building permit data, and per capita personal income.
A rich source of information related to people with disabilities is the home page of the Virtual Release of the Annual Disability Statistics Compendium. This four-day conference, running from Feb. 9 to 12, focused on a number of topics, including: Release of the Annual Report and Compendium; Federal Data Collection and Adjusting to COVID Environment; Impact of COVID-19 for People with Disabilities; and Disability and African Americans. Materials and reports can be downloaded, and recordings of the sessions are available. For more information, visit https://disabilitycompendium.org/.
For U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts about Hunterdon and Somerset counties, go here.
For further Hunterdon County information, go here. For further Somerset County information, go here.
This Future of Work in NJ Industry Series report from Focus NJ and NJBIA also provided some detailed analysis on business trends.