From NJ Spotlight:
While the United States is in the middle of a solid economic expansion that has restored all of the jobs lost during the Great Recession, New Jersey has regained just 55 percent of the private-sector jobs lost, and time may be running out for a “full metal jacket recovery,” a top Rutgers University economist warned yesterday.
In fact, the 122,300 jobs New Jersey has regained over the past 4 ½ years is actually more than the 77,500 jobs the state added during the anemic 2003-2007 recovery – a “lost decade” that demonstrates the underlying weakness of the state’s economy, James W. Hughes, dean of Rutgers Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, told an economic roundtable convened by Assembly Republican leaders.
There are actually 97,000 fewer New Jerseyans working today than there were at the beginning of 2001, and that’s just the beginning of the bad news:
New Jersey has been left out of the nation’s manufacturing rebound, lacks the energy resources that spurred a fracking boom in Pennsylvania, its slow population growth lowers consumer demand, and its business tax climate ranks near the bottom nationally.
New Jersey lacks the diversified R&D clusters that have lured the state’s high-end pharmaceutical jobs to equally high-cost, high-tax Massachusetts and California.
The quintessential suburban state, New Jersey is the poster child for “white elephant” suburban office parks that sit empty because today’s millennial workforce — the “digitali,” as Hughes dubbed them — wants to live and work in walkable 24/7 cities rather than the suburbs in which they grew up.
The threatened closure of three Atlantic City casinos by September would put 6,500 employees on the unemployment line and result in hundreds of layoffs in ancillary businesses,
Further, Hughes noted, “you could say we are living on borrowed time” because the state’s 61-month expansion since the official June 2009 end of the last recession is already longer than the average post-World War II economic expansion in New Jersey, which lasted an average of 58 months.
Hughes laughingly referred to himself as the “Doctor Kevorkian of the New Jersey economy,” while other business leaders call him “Doctor Doom,” noting that Gov. Chris Christie has permanently bestowed the “Doctor Kevorkian” moniker on David Rosen, the Office of Legislative Services budget analyst whose revenue forecasts so often differ from Christie’s rosy projections.