Most states across the country have regained output levels, but few have recovered employment levels since the recession.

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Those are the findings of a new Rutgers Regional Report, "Employment Recession and Recovery in the 50 States: A Further Update." This is the third report in a series that has been tracking the recovery.

"The fact that we've taken three reports to provide these updates indicates that there was a severe problem and the recovery, particularly on the employment front, has been a lengthy one and at times, a tepid one," said Joe Seneca, Professor of Economics at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University and co-author of the report.

"Nationally, the country has regained about 81 percent of the private sector jobs that it lost during the recession. In New Jersey, that number is a little lower, about 60 percent. But, the job growth in the Garden State over the past year has been relatively strong, about 65,000 private sector jobs between June 2012 to June 2013, which ranks sixth in the country. There is still a way to go," said Seneca.

This is the first report which was able to look at output data. "That shows that 45 of the 50 states, including New Jersey, have gotten back nearly all or more than the output they produced in 2007 when the recession first began," said Seneca. "But, only nine of the 50 states have been able to get back all of their private sector employment losses, so the real problem is in the labor markets and that's where the focus in New Jersey and across the country has to be."

According to the report, 31 states continue to have private-sector job recovery rates that lag behind the nation. Within those 31 states, 10 have not yet recovered half of their job losses. "Most of the states have gotten back to the output levels, but the picture is quite different when it comes to employment recovery," said Seneca.

New Jersey lost 248,000 jobs during the recession, about 148,000 have been regained, so there's still about 100,000 to go.

"We did gain 65,000 jobs over this past year. If that rate can be maintained, we will return to the pre-recession private sector employment levels in about a year and a half," said Seneca.