Producing an economic forecast is a risky venture in the best of times—and these are not the best of times. In producing the current forecast, we take into account a faltering economic environment in the state and in the country, the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in September, and, in its wake, the possibly temporary transfer of thousands of jobs from New York to northern New Jersey. All of these situations present problems and questions. They result in an economic forecast that shows New Jersey’s economy barely growing in 2001 and 2002 and reviving slowly in the remaining years of the forecast.
In 2001, the number of nonagricultural jobs fell between February and April and between May and September. However, because of great strength in the job market at the end of 2000 and the transfer of jobs from New York City to New Jersey in the aftermath of the events of September 11, average employment in 2001 will be 0.7 percent higher than average employment in 2000. We expect employment growth to resume in mid-2002, but at the same time, some of the jobs transferred to New Jersey will be repatriated to New York City sites. Thus, job growth in New Jersey will be very slow next year; over the two-year period from 2000 to 2002, the job base will increase by approximately 27,000 positions.