The April 2014 R/ECON forecast shows continuing but slow growth for the state. The very tough winter of 2013/2014 has kept employment growth minimal early in the year, although it is up compared to the early part of 2013. The forecast includes growth in non-agricultural employment of 0.6 percent—nearly 24,400 jobs in 2014, after growth of 1.2 percent or 44,800 jobs in 2013. Growth will be moderate over the next 3 years—for an increase of 136,000 jobs between 2014 and 2017. At these rates the job base will return to the level of the first quarter of 2008 only in early 2018. The rate of growth will trend up slightly as the expansion continues and average 0.9 percent a year from 2017 through 2024. By the end of the forecast period in 2024 the employment base will be about 234,000 jobs greater than the base at the peak.
The jobs recovery in the U.S. was considerably faster than that in New Jersey. By February 2014 the U.S. had recouped 92 percent of the 8.7 million jobs lost during the recession. It will begin its job expansion in mid-2014. 2 By the end of 2024 the nation’s employment base will exceed the peak reached in January 2008 by 11 percent. Given its slower recovery and rate of expansion, New Jersey’s share of the nation’s job base will decline from its current 2.9 percent to 2.8 percent in 2024.