Bloomberg News

Christie Unveils Jobs Plan to Lower New Jersey Unemployment

October 19, 2011

(Updates with jobless rates in third paragraph.)

Oct. 19 (Bloomberg) -- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie unveiled a plan to create jobs and boost the economy of his state, where the unemployment rate has remained above 9 percent for more than two years.

The plan promotes regions of the state with critical or emerging industries, Christie said today in a statement.

“New Jersey’s challenges are too great to be approached in the stratified, haphazard and unrealistic manner that has characterized previous statewide planning efforts,” the governor said. His plan “will foster job growth in a sensible, sustainable and truly effective manner over the long term.”

New Jersey’s jobless rate has hovered between 9 percent and 10 percent since May 2009, and in August stood at 9.4 percent, above the national 9.1 percent average. “Conflicting state regulations and inconsistent application of rules” has scotched some growth in the state, Christie said in his statement.

Fitch Ratings cut its credit grade on New Jersey’s general- obligation debt last month to AA-. Moody’s Investors Service in April lowered its rating one level to Aa3, while in February Standard & Poor’s dropped the state’s bonds one level to AA-. All three companies cited a weak economic recovery and high debt levels in making the revisions.

Under Christie’s plan, the state will identify “regional innovation clusters” to promote growth in critical or emerging industries expected to drive the future economy. It would also seek to steer business development into urban areas and those regions with the infrastructure to handle further development.

--Editors: Ted Bunker, Jerry Hart.

To contact the reporter on this story: Terrence Dopp in Trenton at tdopp@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net


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