N.J. to Recover Recessionary Job Losses in 2018, Economist Says

New Jersey won’t recover all the jobs it lost in the recession until 2018 as its rebound trails the nation’s, a Rutgers University economist said.

The state is on track to add 24,400 jobs this year, growth of 0.6 percent or half the previous year’s, according to Nancy Mantell, director of the Rutgers Economic Advisory Service. The Garden State’s jobless rate stood at 7.2 percent in March, compared to 6.7 percent for the U.S.

Mantell forecast “moderate” growth during the next three years, with 136,000 positions created. By the end of 2024, New Jersey’s employment base will be 234,000 greater than its January 2008 peak of 4.09 million, Mantell said in a statement. The 18-month recession, which ended in June 2009, was the worst downturn since the Depression.

“New Jersey’s slow recovery seems particularly slow in contrast to that of its neighbors, New York and Pennsylvania, as well as the U.S., where the old peak was 99.9 percent recouped last month,” Mantell said. “Given its slower recovery and rate of expansion, New Jersey’s share of the nation’s job base will decline from 2.9 percent to 2.8 percent in 2024.”

Governor Chris Christie, a 51-year-old Republican who staked his national reputation on tough budget policy, said last month that revenue this fiscal year was $800 million below his projections as income-tax collections fell short. The record $34.4 billion budget he proposed for the year starting July 1 counts on 5.8 percent revenue growth, among the highest rates in the nation.

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