Improved New Jersey economy still expected to trail national recovery

 New Jersey's economy is doing better, it's  expected to continue growing more slowly than the rest of nation.(<a href=Photo via ShutterStock " title="shutterstock_293848859" width="640" height="360"/>

New Jersey's economy is doing better, it's expected to continue growing more slowly than the rest of nation.(Photo via ShutterStock

New Jersey’s economy is doing better, but it’s expected to continue growing more slowly than the rest of the nation for the next decade, according to a Rutgers economist.

And Nancy Mantell, director of the Rutgers Economic Advisory Service, predicted employment levels  in New Jersey will not return to their 2008 peak until the middle of 2017.

“We’re looking for a continuing decline in the unemployment rate, continuing low inflation rates,” she said. “In fact, the forecast has a slight decline in the inflation rate in New Jersey this year, and that’s because of the really steep decline in energy prices at the beginning of the year.”

The ongoing loss of manufacturing in the Garden State is holding back economic growth, Mantell said, while the education and health services sectors will continue to show the most gains.

Meanwhile, the Garden State’s housing market has been improving,

Patrick O’Keefe, director of economic research at the accounting and consulting firm CohnReznick in Roseland, said he expects there will be about 95,000 homes resold in 2016.

“Next year is probably going to be the best year that we see for a while, not that things are going to get worse, but they’re not going to get better,” he said. “We’ll probably drift down from that 95,000 units a year gradually downward and level off somewhere around 85,000 units a year going forward — barring a recession.”

O’Keefe said home prices in New Jersey should rise, but only at about the rate of inflation.

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