The April 2012 R/ECON™ forecast for New Jersey looks for growth in nonagricultural employment of 1.2 percent or 48,000 jobs in 2012. This is an above average rate as the economy comes decisively out of the recession, but the rate of growth will then slow as the recovery/expansion progresses. Growth will continue through the forecast period at an average rate of 0.8 percent or 32,000 jobs per year. By the end of the pe- riod the employment level will be 144,000 jobs above the peak reached in 2007.The unemployment rate will fall from its current level of 9 percent to 5.7 percent by 2022. At that level its will still be above pre-recession levels.
New Jersey’s economy improved slowly and steadily during most of 2011 and into early 2012. After hitting bottom in January 2011 employment was up by 54,600 jobs in February 2012. The unemployment rate fell to 9 percent in January and February 2012 from the recessionary peak of 9.9 percent reached in April 2010. There are still so many ongoing problems in the U.S. and global economies that we believe the pace of recovery and expansion in the state in this business cycle will remain modest.
The speed of recovery in New Jersey continues to lag that in the nation. Through February 2012 the U.S. had regained 39 percent of the jobs lost during the recession, while New Jersey had regained only 21 percent. In terms of gross output, New Jersey lost 3.9 percent in 2009 and regained 60 percent of it in 2010. The forecast indicates that the rest of the loss and more was recovered in 2011. The loss in GDP for the U.S. was also more than recovered in 2010 and 2011.