From Eli Segall at the Associated Press:
New Jersey's jobless rate continued to climb last month, surpassing the national rate for the first time in two years and keeping the state firmly entrenched in the global recession, according to analysts.
February's unemployment rate of 8.2 percent was nearly a full percentage point above January's rate, according to the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development, which released the figures Wednesday.
It was the 13th straight month New Jersey shed jobs, pushing the state's jobless rate just above the national rate of 8.1 percent.
"These are dismal numbers," said Rutgers University Professor Joseph Seneca, of the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. "New Jersey's economy is fully engulfed by the national recession."
Job losses were heaviest in professional and business services, manufacturing and construction, according to the state. Education and health services had the only significant job growth, but most industries shed workers.
A soaring number of unemployment claims has helped empty the state's unemployment insurance fund, a key source of help for jobless New Jerseyans. It's also been depleted over the years by lawmakers raiding the fund for other programs.
State Labor Commissioner David Socolow said the state has borrowed $185 million this month from the federal government to make its unemployment payments. A provision in the federal stimulus package makes the loans interest free, he said.
Corzine taxes and spend, taxes and spends, taxes and spends and things get worse and worse and worse.