Today the U.S. Dept. of Labor published its monthly accounting of the job situation in metropolitan areas. Once again, I was reminded of how much worse the job situation is in our New Jersey counties. In March, the unemployment rate in the metropolitan division that consists of Camden, Gloucester and Burlington counties was 9.7 percent, compared to 8.1 percent in the Philadelphia area, which includes the city and the four surrounding suburban Pa counties.

Here's how it works: Philadelphia county has the highest unemployment, but right behind it are the three New Jersey counties. Together, all of them fall above the national unemployment rate. But when the counties are grouped by metropolitan division, Philadelphia's high rate is offset by lower rates in Chester and Montgomery County.