Expect slow but steady growth in New Jersey’s economy, say the officials gathered at the Garden State Economic Forum in Trenton Wednesday.
Economic growth in the Garden State has been slower than in neighboring states, said Ray Stone, an economist at Stone and McCarthy Research Associates in Princeton.
“Perhaps that was because of Sandy, but the rebuilding, of course, might accelerate that. So I think we have reasons to be optimistic in New Jersey,” he said.
Charles Steindel, chief economist for New Jersey’s Treasury Department, agreed that Sandy-related spending will help boost the economy.
“It’s going to be something … moving forward and helping the state over the near term in the next year or two. It’s taken a while to get going,” Steindel said. “They’ve talked about some of the obstacles, some of the challenges they’ve faced, but we think those challenges are being overcome, and the rebuilding will become more evident in helping the state’s economy.”
In the meantime, New Jersey’s slower pace in recovering from the recession will continue, said Patrick O’Keefe, director of economic research at the accounting and tax advisory firm
“We have that competitive disadvantage that it costs more to do business in New Jersey just because we are a wealthy state,” he said. “We’re not getting as much out of housing as we see elsewhere, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that we have the second-highest foreclosure inventory of any state in the country.”
Economists agreed that the pace of economic growth in New Jersey depends in large part on the recovery of the national economy.