New Jersey employers say finding qualified workers biggest challenge

 Tom Bracken, president of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce,chats with Gov. Chris Christie last year. Bracken says a survey has found that employers in the Garden State are not worried about the Affordable Care Act any longer. (AP file photo)

Tom Bracken, president of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce,chats with Gov. Chris Christie last year. Bracken says a survey has found that employers in the Garden State are not worried about the Affordable Care Act any longer. (AP file photo)

Employers surveyed by the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce have identified their greatest concerns for operating their business.

Chamber President Tom Bracken said 27 percent of the employers put finding qualified workers at the top of their list.

“I hope it’s because the marketplace is expanding, and companies are expanding and are looking for workers, and it’s sort of a shortage of supply of supply when there is increasing demand,” Bracken said. “That would be a nice problem to have.”

Their second biggest worry is dealing with regulatory requirements, he said.

“The Christie administration led by the Red Tape Commission continues to peck away at these issues, but there are still statewide issues that need to be addressed,” he said. “And we have not even started to address the vast majority of municipal issues that have been imposed.”

The cost of state and local taxes is also creating anxiety for employers.

But Bracken said they’re fretting less about the impact of the Affordable Care Act, with only 12 percent now saying that’s their top concern.

“I just think that’s one of those things where once you had pain inflected, you get used to the pain,” he said. “It hasn’t gotten any worse, it hasn’t gotten any better, and people tend to take that for granted over time.”

Forty percent of employers surveyed expect New Jersey’s economy will improve over the next 12 months, while only 19 percent believe it will get worse.

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