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NJ Residents Struggling And Not Optimistic [AUDIO]

If the economy really is turning around somebody forgot to tell New Jersey residents.

Spencer Platt, Getty Images

The most recent consumer survey by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind released today reveals many Garden Staters are struggling financially and a lot of people aren’t very confident that things are going to get better anytime soon.

26% of New Jerseyans say they are better off financially than they were last year, down six points from January 2012. Two in five (43%) report they are worse off, virtually unchanged from January (41%).

Rich Higginson, Director of Consumer Research at PublicMind says, “Despite all time high approval ratings for Governor Christie and a majority who believe the state is heading in the right direction, New Jerseyans’ perceptions of their own financial well-being are not as positive.”

The future doesn’t look very rosy for many residents either. More New Jerseyans (26%) expect they will be worse off financially in the upcoming year than believed so in January (19%), while only 2 in 5 (38%) believe they will be better off, down significantly from January’s view (47%). The youngest respondents, those 18-29 (63%) are the most likely to believe they will be better off in a year. At the other end of the age continuum, about a quarter of those aged 60 and older are unsure what the next year will bring.

Is joblessness a concern for you? Join the club. 57% of those surveyed say either they, a relative, or close friend has lost their job in the past year.

“The stock market has been on a see-saw ride over the past several months, state unemployment is up since January, and the overseas debt crisis continues to be unsettling,” explains Higginson. “It should come as no surprise that our numbers have gone down.”

Only 1 in 5 (21%) now believe that the life for their children will be better than it has been for them, down slightly from January’s 25%.

Higginson says, “In January we noted that people were not necessarily more optimistic about the economy, just less pessimistic. It now appears the pessimism has crept back into the minds of New Jersey residents.”

There not much sign of improvement in the area of housing, often a leading indicator of recovery and by far the most significant asset for the majority of Americans. About half (48%) believe housing prices in their area will go up in the next year.

The telephone survey of 695 randomly selected adults throughout New Jersey who participate in their household’s financial decisions was conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind from July 23 through July 29, 2012 and has a margin of error of +/- 4% percentage points.

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