Despite adding 16,600 jobs in June, New Jersey's unemployment rate continues to rise.

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development is reporting a sixth consecutive month of job gains as the state attempts to recover from the economic and employment devastation brought on by Governor Phil Murphy's pandemic shutdowns.

Over the past two months, state labor officials say close to 40,000 jobs have been recovered. The Murphy administration says 423,200 jobs have been recovered and 59% of those who lost their jobs due to the pandemic have regained employment.

Despite the job gains, the unemployment rate for New Jersey has actually gone up to 7.3%. Labor officials blame the uptick in more people starting to look for a job. The national unemployment rate is holding below 6%.

Since last March, more than 2.1 million residents have filed for unemployment benefits. More than 266,000 are considered long-term unemployed, meaning they have been collecting for more than a year.

New Jersey has paid out $31.4 billion dollars in unemployment benefits with an average per person benefit of more than $20,000.

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