N.J. Economic Growth Seen 15% Slower Than U.S. Rate Until 2033

New Jersey, trailing the U.S. and neighboring states in employment, will see economic growth about 15 percent slower than the national rate through 2033, according to a Rutgers University analysis.

The most densely populated state won’t match its January 2008 peak of 4.1 million jobs until late 2017, according to Nancy Mantell, director of the New Brunswick-based school’s Economic Advisory Service. That’s three years behind the national turnaround, she said.

New Jersey recouped slightly more than half the jobs lost during the recession that began in December 2007, while the U.S. regained 83 percent. Though the state unemployment rate dropped to 8.4 percent in October from 9.6 percent a year earlier, it is more than one percentage point above the U.S. figure. It will remain “at least a bit higher” through 2033, Mantell said.

“I’m a little concerned about temporary office employment, which has declined over the past year,” Mantell said in a telephone interview today, before she was to present findings at the service’s subscribers conference. “Hiring temps tends to be a harbinger for near-future employment growth in the state.”

Job Creation

Governor Chris Christie, 51, a Republican, was elected to a second term last month over state Senator Barbara Buono, a Democrat who faulted him on job retention and creation. He has touted the addition of 143,100 jobs since he took office four years ago.

Neither Michael Drewniak nor Colin Reed, his spokesmen, responded to e-mails and a phone call to their office for comment on the Rutgers findings.

New Jersey’s economy will grow at an average of 2.2 percent a year between 2012 and 2033, Mantell predicted. The state’s high costs of living and doing business are some of the reasons it will trail national growth, she said.

Christie in September signed legislation to overhaul the state’s tax-incentive program for employers and developers. He also is more than three years into what he’s called a five-year effort to revive Atlantic City, the oceanside resort that last year lost its standing as the second-largest U.S. gaming market, after Las Vegas, to Pennsylvania.

Gambling revenue in Atlantic City fell 40 percent to $3.05 billion in 2012 from a 2006 peak. For the first 11 months of 2013, the revenue is down 6.1 percent from last year. Jobs in the industry fell 5 percent, to 32,432, from December 2012 through last month, according to the state Casino Control Commission.

“Casinos employment has been dropping like a stone for several years,” Mantell said of New Jersey. “It is an industry where it started from no competition and now there’s competition.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Elise Young in Trenton at eyoung30@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Merelman at smerelman@bloomberg.net

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