Bloomberg News

New Jersey Businesses’ Economic Outlook Bleakest in 20 Years

November 23, 2011

(Updates with GDP figures in fifth paragraph.)

Nov. 22 (Bloomberg) -- New Jersey employers’ confidence in the U.S. economy fell to a 20-year low in an annual survey, with 43 percent of business owners saying it will worsen in the first half of 2012.

The percentage of respondents predicting deterioration is three times higher than the 14 percent who said the economy will improve, according to the New Jersey Business & Industry Association. Last year, 33 percent had a negative outlook while 23 percent had a positive one.

The employers’ outlook for New Jersey’s economy is slightly better from last year, with 20 percent expecting improvement and 33 percent anticipating a worsening. Fifteen percent of the businesses plan to hire more workers next year, while 13 percent expect job cuts and 71 percent intend to keep employment stable.

“There is some improvement, but many businesses continue to struggle, and they are understandably reluctant to hire,” said Philip Kirschner, president of the 22,000-member association, which surveyed 1,568 businesses for the survey.

The U.S. gross domestic product rose at a 2 percent annual rate from July through September, according to revised U.S. Commerce Department figures released today in Washington. The figure was down from an earlier 2.5 percent estimate.

In October, New Jersey’s unemployment declined 0.1 percentage point, to 9.1 percent, according to state labor department figures. The rate has dropped in each of the past three months.

New Jersey ranked 49th in economic health during the past year among 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to the Bloomberg Economic Evaluation of States, which uses data on real estate, jobs, taxes and stock prices. From the second quarter of 2010 to a year later, the measure dropped 2.025 percent. Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut all showed growth during the same period.

--Editors: Stephen Merelman, Stacie Servetah

To contact the reporter on this story: Elise Young in Trenton at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: William Glasgall at

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