Winter R/ECON Forecast: New Jersey in 'Economic Doldrums'


The Rutgers Economic Advisory Service (R/ECON) issued its Winter 2008 economic forecast in January, finding that New Jersey added fewer jobs through November 2007 than during the similar period in 2006, and predicting the state's economy would continue to underperform against the national economy through at least 2012. The forecast prompted R/ECON Director Nancy Mantell to declare New Jersey was “caught in the economic doldrums.”


Nancy Mantell
Nancy Mantell, Director R/ECON

Mantell presented the forecast at the Bloustein School during R/ECON’s semiannual subscriber conference, “The Tri-State Economy.” Dean Hughes and University Professor Joseph J. Seneca joined Mantell in a panel discussion with James Diffley, managing director of Global Insight’s U.S. Regional Services Group, who discussed Pennsylvania’s economic prospects, and Rae Rosen, senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, who spoke about the Empire State’s future.

During 2007, Mantell said, New Jersey’s average unemployment rate of 4.3 percent was consistently lower than the nation’s 4.6 percent average rate, but was reflective of a drop in labor force participation. “People appear to be dropping out of the labor force rather than looking for work," she said.

Mantell predcited New Jersey's jobless rates would average 5 percent for 2008, and 5.2 percent annually through 2017. Education/ health services, and professional/ business services accounted for a third of New Jersey's job gains in 2007; the remainder came from the public sector, she said. Continuing a longtime trend, about half the job losses were in manufacturing.

R/ECON is a subscription service offered by the Center for Urban Policy Research to help business and government agencies plan their operations in line with expectations about the economic environment.


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