Employers in New Jersey added 14,000 jobs to their payrolls in April, the third straight monthly gain, the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported today.

Virtually all of the new jobs - all but 600 - came from the private sector, notably trade/transportation/utilities, manufacturing, education/health services, and leisure/hospitality. Government added the rest of the total.

Even with the increase in jobs to a total of 3.86 million, the state's unemployment rate last month was unchanged from March at 9.3 percent. That happened because previously discouraged workers re-entered the labor force to look for work. They are counted as unemployed until they find jobs.

"The private-sector job gain is extremely encouraging, with the fairly substantial increase showing that the recovery may be gaining a bit of momentum, and pickups in sectors such as manufacturing and retailing suggesting that a larger cross-section of the state's economy is starting to benefit," said Charles Steindel, chief economist for New Jersey's Treasury Department.    - Paul Schweizer