NJ’s Recovery Could Lag Nation By 2 Years, Report Says

economy njNew Jersey could lag the nation in economic recovery by as much as two years, according to a Rutgers University study released today. The Garden State is not expected to reach full job recovery until 2016, even as the rest of the nation will probably return to pre-recession job levels in late 2013 or early 2014, according to the semi-annual forecast. Nancy Mantell, a university economist and the author of the report, attributed the gap to New Jersey’s high cost of living and slow population growth, relative to other parts of the country. “New Jersey has a mature economy,” she said. “There will be places that are slower than us, but we will be slower than the average.”

The forecast is somewhat gloomier than even Mantell had expected. In her report last January, she had predicted the makeup of the state’s economy would shield it from the worst effects of the recession.

At the time, she had anticipated unemployment would peak at 7.2 percent and personal income would rise by 2.7 percent in 2009. In fact, the unemployment rate ended up surpassing 10 percent, and personal income actually fell by 1.4 percent

“The recession turned out to be much worse than expected. It affected just about every sector,” Mantell said Thursday. “It was just shockingly long and awful.”

From 2008 to 2020, she predicts New Jersey’s economic output will expand by an annual average rate of 1.8 percent, compared to 2.3 percent nationwide.

Population growth in the state will increase by 0.5 percent during the same period, half the national rate. Star Ledger.

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