Economic recovery from Sandy could take years, N.J. business group says

Hurricane Sandy is dimming New Jersey’s business outlook.

Most of the business owners surveyed by the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce say they expect it will take one to three years for the Garden State economy to recover from the storm.

Chamber president Tom Bracken says about 25 percent of the companies are now less optimistic about the business climate, a sharp increase from the 6 percent with that view in May.

“You’ve got to remember seven months ago Sandy hadn’t hit, the fiscal cliff items weren’t as prominent as they are now,” he said Wednesday. “And we’re that much closer to the health-care cost uncertainties, which businesses don’t like.”

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Even with all those concerns, Bracken says 40 percent of the chamber members expect their company will increase their workforce this year.

Meanwhile, business owners give Gov. Chris Christie high marks for his handling of the hurricane and its aftermath.

“There was 77 percent of the people leaning or definitively saying they would vote for him for re-election,” Bracken said. “Probably the most dramatic number was the rating for management of Hurricane Sandy — 83 percent have him an excellent rating.”

Nearly 60 percent of the chamber members say they’d support a Christie run for president in 2016.

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