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New Jersey Residents’ Finances Best Since 2006, Poll Finds

Jan. 17 (Bloomberg) -- One-third of New Jersey residents say their finances have improved in the past year, the highest percentage since 2006, with the most improvement among adults age 18 to 29, a poll found.

The 32 percent of New Jerseyans who said they are better off than they were last year is up seven percentage points from January 2011, according to a survey by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Silberman College of Business. Forty-one percent said they are worse off, the lowest percentage since 2008.

Unemployment remains a concern, with 63 percent of New Jersey residents saying they or someone close to them has lost a job in the past year, little changed from 65 percent in a January 2011 poll. The percentage of respondents who are somewhat or very concerned about getting fired remains at 32 percent. Those saying business conditions will improve was steady at 54 percent, while those predicting it will improve declined by 5 points to 21 percent.

“People are not necessarily more optimistic,” Sorin Tuluca, a finance professor at the business school in Madison, New Jersey, said in a statement accompanying the poll. “But they are definitely less pessimistic.”

New Jersey’s unemployment rate was 9.1 percent in November, down from 9.2 percent a year earlier. The rate averaged 9.5 percent in 2010, more than double the 2007 rate of 4.3 percent, according to data from the New Jersey Labor Department.

Fed Index

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s coincident index for New Jersey, a gauge of state-level economic conditions, has climbed 2 percent since January 2011 and is the highest since 2008. The index is a composite of economic data, including nonfarm employment, the jobless rate, average hours worked in manufacturing and wages.

The telephone survey of 660 adults throughout New Jersey who participate in their household financial decisions was sponsored by Silberman and conducted by Fairleigh’s PublicMind polling institute from Jan. 2-8. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stacie Servetah in Trenton at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at

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