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New Rutgers NJ Economic Report Is a Mixed Bag [AUDIO]

New Jersey’s economy remains in recovery mode, but it’s not coming back as quickly as the national economy.

Construction Workers
John Moore, Getty Images

That’s the finding of a new economic report from Rutgers University.

“Job growth in Jersey continues to lag, and there’s probably an impact from Superstorm Sandy that had a deleterious impact on the state in the summer, in terms of leisure activities and construction,” said Rutgers Economist Nancy Mantell.

She pointed out a lot of the money that we expected didn’t come in yet.

“I mean it should still come in, but it’s slow,” she said.

The other factor Mantell is concerned about is that temporary employment seems to have declined over the last several months.

“That’s a harbinger of what’s happening with employment in the future,” Mantell explained. “People hire temps and then eventually they hire full-time – or at least that’s the theory.”

At the same time, there are some positive signs.

“The housing market has been pretty strong,” she said. “Mortgage rates have remained low, although they did tick up in the 3rd quarter. Housing prices have been going up, which means that there’s actually some demand out there.”

“Sales went up the first and second quarters, and the other kind of tax that did pretty well was the sales tax, which did very well.”

Mantell said another area of concern was Atlantic City.

“New Jersey casinos continue to lose employment,” she said, “so hopefully this new online system will actually provide some stimulus for them.”

Her report also indicates the long-term forecast for employment is a bit of a question mark because it’s constrained by population growth.

“The population is not growing as quickly in New Jersey as it is in the rest of the U.S,” she said. “It’s a highly populated state already.”

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