Majority of New Jersey Businesses Will Increase Hiring in 2014, Says Just-Released Provident Bank 2013 Business Barometer

  Majority of New Jersey Businesses Will Increase Hiring in 2014, Says
  Just-Released Provident Bank 2013 Business Barometer

             78% of State’s Businesses are Optimistic about 2014

Business Wire

ISELIN, N.J. -- November 14, 2013

Even though the national current unemployment rate is hovering around 7%, New
Jersey business owners are optimistic about their hiring plans for 2014, with
nearly 60% saying they plan to hire additional full- or part-time employees
next year, according to a recent survey by Provident Bank,, the oldest community bank operating exclusively in
New Jersey for nearly 175 years. Further, Provident Bank's 2013 Business
Barometer, which surveyed more than 300 business owners and members of
executive management of New Jersey-based businesses, revealed that 78% are
either very or somewhat optimistic about their business outlook for 2014.

“While the recovery has been slow and Superstorm Sandy was a decidedly
defining setback for businesses here in New Jersey, our research underscores a
compelling outlook among New Jersey’s business leaders here that better days
lay ahead,” said Provident Bank President and CEO Chris Martin.

The 2013 Business Barometer revealed, however that this sense of optimism is
somewhat tempered by a good dose of reality and the lessons learned over the
last half a decade. The vast majority of business owners did not borrow money
for their businesses in 2013, with 79% saying so. Another 68% said they do not
plan to borrow in 2014 either, citing the economy and consumer confidence as
among their two top business concerns.

Other important business concerns that respondents cited were the country’s
political climate, New Jersey’s property taxes and the state’s own political

“These have been challenging years for New Jersey businesses, and the
political and economic uncertainty have understandably impacted business
owners’ willingness to overextend themselves and take on additional debt. But,
all things considered, the survey revealed just how resilient business owners
are here, how eager they are ready to embrace the next business cycle and are
poised for growth,” noted Martin.

Among the 2013 Business Barometer’s other findings are:

  *The majority of business owners (33%) indicated that their businesses
    “held their own” during the last 12 months; 9% said business was great;
    28% said it was good; 23% reported struggling a bit, and 8% said business
    was poor.
  *Among those who said they held their own or business was good or great,
    the business owners attributed such factors as the economy picking up,
    hard work and long hours, and an influx of new customers to their outlook.
  *Only 6% of respondents said they were not at all optimistic about their
    business in 2014.
  *The majority of respondents (72%) indicated their business will grow in
    2014 as compared to 2013, with growth rates reported in the range of less
    than 3% to more than 10%.
  *Consultants are proving a good option for managing workforce needs in
    uncertain times, with nearly one-fifth (19%) of survey respondents saying
    they were planning to increase their use of consultants in 2014.
  *Most businesses (67%) indicated their workforce remained stable in the
    last year. Another 18% actually increased their headcount and 15%
    decreased it in the last 12 months.
  *Of those business owners that did borrow money in 2013 for their business,
    they cited needing the cash for growth (27%), new equipment (23%), and
    capital improvements (19%) as the primary reasons. Along the same lines,
    of those that plan to borrow money for their business in 2014, 33% cited
    for growth, 17% cited new equipment and 16% cited capital improvements.

When asked about what they thought was the best news to come out of New Jersey
in the last 12 months, among the most common words respondents used to
describe their views were “business,” “Governor Christie,” the “economy” and

“With change, there’s often an opportunity for growth and the cultivation of
fresh thinking,” noted Martin. “Over the course of our long history here in
New Jersey, we have seen firsthand how resilient and innovative our business
culture is through many business cycles. New Jersey’s business owners are now
showing once again their sense of optimism and ingenuity with an eye toward
growth as we enter this new cycle in our economy.”

About the Survey

Provident Bank’s 2013 Business Barometer is an annual survey of New Jersey
business owners and senior management to assess their views about the state of
their businesses and the overall business economy in New Jersey. More than 300
respondents (344 total: 171 non Provident Bank customers and 173 Provident
Bank customers) completed the survey in October 2013.

Of the companies surveyed, 1% was publicly traded, 42% were privately held and
58% were family-owned and operated. Their longevity ranges from one to five
years old to more than 50 years in business, with the majority of respondents
having been in business for 1-5 (28%). Respondents fell across a wide range of
business and industry, with the highest concentration of respondents in
professional services, service, retail and other industries.

For a copy of the survey, please contact Robert Pertain, first vice president
and marketing director, at (732) 590-9403 or

About Provident Bank

With $5.3 billion in deposits, Provident Bank ( serves its
customers via a network of full-service branches throughout northern and
central New Jersey. Provident Bank is the wholly owned subsidiary of Provident
Financial Services, Inc. (NYSE:PFS), which reported assets of $7.3 billion as
of June 30, 2013.


Kitchen Public Relations
Nina Dietrich, 201-493-8944
Brian Hyland, 212-687-8999
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