Hughes and his Rutgers colleague, Joseph J. Seneca, addressed state officials at an annual State House seminar in Trenton. The economists predicted that the state would add 35,000 to 40,000 jobs in 2006 – about the same number added in 2005. Just over 4 million people work in the Garden State.
The rate of job growth is below the rate of previous economic expansions, when the state added an average of 75,000 jobs each year. Last year, New Jersey employment grew at an estimated 0.8 percent, well below the national rate of about 1.5 percent, Seneca and Hughes said.
Worse yet, many of the new jobs in New Jersey have been in lower-paid fields such as health care and leisure and hospitality (mostly restaurant workers).
At the same time, the state has seen minimal growth in the highly paid financial sector, with 16,700 new jobs from 2000 to 2005. And the information sector, which includes the telecom industry, lost 31,500 over that span, while professional and business services lost 12,200.