Rutgers Regional Report

Dean James Hughes and University Professor Joseph Seneca issued a new Rutgers Regional Report in April which found that private-sector employment growth in New Jersey lagged behind the nation as a whole and well behind the performance of its neighboring states during 2007.


The report prompted The Star-Ledger to editorialize on New Jersey’s “dismal” performance in job growth. “There's no way to put a positive spin on these numbers. If the state doesn't engage in some long-term planning to grow its economy, the numbers in future years aren't likely to be any better.”


Entitled “Reversal of Economic Fortune: Regional and State Prosperity at Risk,” the Hughes-Seneca report found New Jersey was out of step with neighboring New York and Pennsylvania during 2007 which ranked 2nd and 8th respectively in job growth. New Jersey ranked 35th.


The report noted how economic conditions nationally were eroding and predicted more trouble ahead for 2008. “New Jersey may be particularly at risk as these challenges intensify,” Hughes and Seneca concluded. “The state had the least economic momentum entering 2008 compared with its large economic peer states in the Northeast, at least as measured by employment growth benchmarks. “Moreover, despite several years of modest economic prosperity, the state’s fiscal structural deficit remains particularly precarious, which will negatively impact economic growth.”


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Martin Robins Receives Award

The New Jersey Planning Officials presented 2008 Achievement in Planning Awards to Martin E. Robins, senior fellow with the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center, and the students in a graduate planning studio who helped Lindenwold create a borough vision plan. Robins was honored for his 35-year career in transportation planning and policy, including his service at the Bloustein School which began in 1998 when he founded the Voorhees Transportation Planning Institute. Robins has managed several of New Jersey's largest transit initiatives, directing projects to construct new trans-Hudson passenger rail tunnels and the Hudson Bergen Light Rail Line.


Martin Robins
Martin Robins

The Graduate Planning Studio created strategies and recommendations for Lindenwold to redevelop around its PATCO station area and its Gibbsboro Road apartment corridor. The planning focused on neighborhood revitalization, increasing connectivity, creating a borough gateway and building a community center. The participating students were: Amit Arora, Matthew Ellis, Afton Enger, Chris Kesici, Andrew Koziol, Charu Kukreja, Edward Leimbach, Liu Liu, Nancy Mahadeo, Rebecca Marshall, Kate Meade, Carrie McCarthy, Carrine Piccolo, Amy Sampson, Megan Saunders, Lianna Schafer, Heidi Schallberg, Katie Thielman and Ning Wang.



New Staff Hires

The Bloustein School has appointed a new director for development to enhance its capital fundraising efforts and a new director of information technology to keep pace with new technology capabilities.


The new Director of Development, Donald Sutton, comes to the Bloustein School from the Rutgers School of Communication, Information and Library Studies (SCILS), where he also served as development director. His previous experience includes fundraising positions at the Museum of Arts and Design, Teachers College at Columbia University, the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Foundation, The Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, and the New York State Urban Development Corporation.


The position is jointly funded with the Rutgers University Foundation. While at SCILS, Sutton became active with the school’s alumni group and intends to reach out in a similar manner to EJB alumni.


Martin O'Reilly has been appointed Director of Information Technology, bringing more than 15 years’ experience in the information technology field, including the last eight as Director of Informational Technology at the Rutgers Business School in Newark. Before joining Rutgers, O’Reilly worked for a public school district in Union County, as well as in the private sector for Polmar Technologies, a firm that provided technical services to Fortune 500 companies.


His experience encompasses a broad array of hardware, software, and networking components. He has been extensively involved in the evaluation and implementation of new instructional and research technologies, as well as in budgetary, managerial, and project management functions. O’Reilly will oversee Bloustein’s IT functions, working with the school’s IT staff to keep the school at the cutting edge of information technology capabilities. Back to Recent Developments


Society of Industrial and Office Realtors Report

Dean James W. Hughes and University Professor Joseph Seneca have issued the first in a new series of reports they are undertaking for the NJ Society of Industrial and Office Realtors. Entitled “New Jersey Logistical Competitiveness: Ominous Trendlines,” the report focuses on Port Newark/Elizabeth and the related logistics industry in New Jersey.


The report notes how the wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing sectors accounted for 9.5 percent of New Jersey’s total employment in 2007 and nearly 11 percent of the state’s GDP in 2006. This performance resulted from a surge in global trade and consumer spending in the post-2000 period, which sparked a sharp and sustained increase in the flow of goods through the state’s ports and logistical centers.


“However, the end of an era of cheap global credit and the beginning of broad consumer retrenchment in the United States will certainly slow this dynamic, and perhaps even shift it into reverse,” Hughes and Seneca warned. A second danger has been erosion in New Jersey’s logistical workforce at a time when the equivalent workforces in Pennsylvania and the United States have been growing.


In particular, the report noted the emergence of the Allentown/Bethlehem area in eastern Pennsylvania where logistics employment grew nearly 23 percent between 2003 and 2007. The relatively low-pay offered by jobs in transportation and warehousing is offset in this region by its significantly lower cost of living.


Hughes and Seneca in the report said the adverse trends confronting New Jersey require a stronger public policy focus on the state’s logistical future.

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Sitar-Rutgers Regional Reports

Dean James W. Hughes and University Professor Joseph J. Seneca issued new Sitar-Rutgers Regional Reports in May and August tracking further erosion with the New Jersey economy and its employment base in conjunction with the national downturn in the economy.


Batten Down the Economic Hatches,” issued in May, reported that the curtain came down in December 2007 on a 52-month period of private employment growth nationally. The expansion was “disappointing” by historical standards for job growth, and even more modest for New Jersey. In the 1st Quarter for 2008, job losses in New Jersey were triple the job gains for all of 2007 and, if the trend continued through 2008, would erase all of the employment gains for 2006 as well.


In their August report, “A Deepening Cycle of Economic Retreat,” Hughes and Seneca noted that forecasters nationally were predicting that the economic downturn would be shallow, but lengthy. Troubling employment statistics for New Jersey continued to worsen as the state, ranked 11th in population, dropped in job growth from 21st in 2006, to 36th last year to 46th for the first six months of 2008. “There’s not too much room to fall further,” they wrote.


The Hughes-Seneca analysis found that New Jersey lost 14,100 jobs during the first six months of 2008. While the state’s unemployment rate was below the national rate, it had grown by an “ominous” 1.1 percentage rate since January, from 4.2 percent to 5.3 percent by June.


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