By: Follow South Jersey Staff
CAMDEN, N.J. – Camden County and Camden City’s unemployment rate fell to its lowest levels since the start of the pandemic, according to data released last week from the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development (LWD).
Camden City’s unemployment rate fell to 7.5% while the county’s fell to 4.3% in March of 2022, the report stated. In July of 2020, during the height of the pandemic, the unemployment rate was 22% for the city and 16.2% for the county.
“Business is booming in Camden County and we are trying to do everything we can to get back to our pre-pandemic economic levels,” Camden County Commissioner Director, Louis Cappelli, Jr., said in a press release from the county. “Building back from COVID has had its challenges but the city and the county have made tremendous strides over the last two years. Many of our residents are returning to the workforce and the value in corporate, industrial and residential properties continues to grow. The Commissioners have supported small businesses, nonprofits and residents through more than $60 million of grants and rental assistance to keep our residents afloat during the worst of times that have paid significant dividends to our community.”
In 2017, Camden City was cited by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as having the highest employment growth rate in the nation. The municipal economy was growing by leaps and bounds and providing opportunity and access to well paying jobs by new and expanding companies. As it did nationally, the pandemic knocked the historic growth throughout the country off-track, but over the last year the county has seen businesses start to return to normal and significant growth over several sectors of employment.
Camden City Mayor Victor Carstarphen said that the COVID recovery is remarkable.
“The economic climate in Camden is good and our city is open for business,” Carstarphen said. “Camden is making a remarkable recovery from COVID-19. Despite the impact of the pandemic, Camden’s unemployment rate continues to steadily decrease. We are seeing a pre-pandemic unemployment rate of 7.5%. This is thanks to a culmination of new development projects, plus local hiring efforts by small businesses and corporate partners”.
Chairwoman of the Camden Community Partnership, Dana Redd, said that after the toll taken by COVID, she sees tangible growth occurring in the city.
“The pandemic took a toll on everyone in the county, but the city was hit hardest,” Redd said. “That said, the resilience of Camden and its people have never been in question. Our mission at the partnership has always been to connect residents with jobs that pay a livable wage and provide the dignity of an honest day’s work. Even during the toughest times of COVID, we were making the connections that count by getting residents back into the workforce.”
More than 30 new corporations have begun calling Camden City home since 2013 and approximately 40% of those businesses will locate their central operations in city neighborhoods. Companies like ResinTech, Contemporary Graphics, EMR and IPak are all already operating in different city neighborhoods.
Christina M. Renna, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey, cites that there has been exponential job growth for county and city residents.
“Job gains and economic development have grown month after month since the height of the pandemic in Camden County and are tangible from Voorhees to Camden City,” Renna said. “We want to applaud the work the Commissioners have done to support the business community throughout our battle with COVID and in their efforts to reduce the unemployment rate in the city and county.”
Camden City Council President Angel Fuentes said the city’s transformation is still a work in progress, but significant gains are being made.
“This is a sign of real progress and incredible news for our Camden residents,” Fuentes continued. “Camden residents are finally realizing the quality employment opportunities under the leadership of Mayor Carstarphen. We are talking about economic outcomes that have not been witnessed in decades and more importantly, these are not simply jobs, but they are valuable career opportunities.”
To view all of the data go to www.nj.gov/labor/labormarketinformation/employment-wages/unemployment-rates-labor-force-estimates/.
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