NJ Unemployment Highest in 15 years

In Philly.com today:

TRENTON, N.J. – New Jersey’s jobless rate spiked to its highest point in nearly 15 years last month, further straining the state’s chronically underfunded unemployment fund.

Gov. Jon S. Corzine said Wednesday he hopes to avoid a payroll tax increase to shore up the fund, which pays claims to out-of-work employees. The fund was raided of $4.7 billion before Corzine took office in 2005, and has exhausted a $260 million infusion pumped into it in July.

The state’s unemployment rate rose to 7.1 percent in December, up a full percentage point from November. Retail, construction and professional and business services were the hardest hit.

In all, 15,200 jobs were lost, according to state Labor Department statistics. Corzine called the latest jobless numbers “disappointing.” The national unemployment rate rose to 7.2 percent in December, from 6.8 percent in November, its highest rate in 16 years.

The unemployment fund “was raided” prior to Corzine taking office. We can’t blame Jon for that, only his predecessor. Jon has lavished nothing but praise on his predecessors.

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