Despite the weather-related pause, New Jersey and the nation are poised for more slow but steady economic growth this year.

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All of that snow and ice has been keeping consumers home. In January and February, they spent a lot of money on energy, but they did not buy cars or other consumer goods. Many economy watchers, though, still expect improvement in the spring.

"We had very weak December and January numbers, but that's the nature of growth," said James Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. "It's never smooth and even, it's erratic."

The cold start for the economy this year has also led some analysts to theorize that the Federal Reserve might continue its economic stimulus instead of reducing so-called "quantitative easing."

But there is no hard evidence Washington will not continue with that stimulus reduction.

Hughes said the economy has created about 2.5 million jobs in each of the past three years, and 2014 should experience similar hiring -- when the snow goes.

"That's not 'both guns blazing' growth, but it's not bad," he said.