The Labor Department says employers added 163,000 jobs in July, following three months of weak hiring. The numbers, which is the biggest gain in five months, will have an impact on New Jersey.

“When the job growth picks up nationally, that is definitely going to be reflected here” said James Hughes, an economist at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy in New Brunswick.

He said the first six months of 2012 have been great for the state.

“New Jersey has added almost the exact same number of private sector jobs in that time span than we did in almost all of 2011, so we are in a good position to outpace the nation in terms of job growth.”

Even with the increase, hiring is competitive. There were 12.7 million unemployed people in June, or an average of 3.4 unemployed people for each job.

“What this indicates is that companies do want to hire, but they are probably having a hard time finding the appropriate people with the right education and right set of skills” said Hughes.

Overall hiring is up only 19 percent. And openings are still below pre-recession levels of about 5 million per month.

New Jersey and eight other northeast states added roughly 27,000 jobs last month.

“There hasn’t been any sector that has added more jobs over any other sector, they have all pretty much stayed the same in that regard” said Hughes.

Tuesday’s report, known as the Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, measures gross hiring. That fell in June from May to 4.36 million. But May’s total was the highest in three and a half years.

“We were fearful in the beginning of the year that 2012 would be known as the great stall, but what we’re seeing now with the increase in job growth, we can safely say this is the start of the great swoon” added Hughes.