As enhanced unemployment benefits expired and tens of thousands of New Jerseyans faced the end of jobless benefits altogether, there are signs the hiring crisis is easing.

The Garden State added back thousands of jobs to the economy in November across nearly all private sectors. The unemployment rate fell to 6.6%, down 0.4%.

New Jersey Department of Labor figures show strong hiring, with 25,800 jobs added in November and 76,000 jobs over the last three months.

The best performing segments of the recovering economy in New Jersey is the professional and business service sector, which added 8,600 jobs.

Strong growth is also seen in the leisure and hospitality sector with more than 3,000 jobs added back.

Only the construction sector saw negative growth, and that is likely due to an annual seasonal fall back as well as supply chain issues with construction materials.

Despite the strong job growth, however, many private employers continue to report issues finding workers and New Jersey still lags behind much of the nation when it comes to pandemic recovery. New Jersey's unemployment rate remains more than two full percentage points above the national rate of 4.4%.

Business owners remain pessimistic for the future. A recent survey by the New Jersey Business and Industry Association found more than a quarter of business owners say they will look to sell or close their business sooner than previously anticipated due to the continuing challenges of staffing, mandates, restrictions and lower revenue.

Among workers, however, optimism is growing. An annual survey by the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University found 3 in 4 workers say it is a good time to get a quality job right now.

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