New Jersey’s economy may have weakened over the past year, but the news isn’t all bleak, according to Rutgers University economist Nancy H. Mantell.
“The forecast remains positive, although the pace of the recovery is not as rapid as we would like,” Mantell said at today’s Rutgers Economic Advisory Service conference, in New Brunswick. Employment is higher than last year, output is up, and inflation and interest rates remain low, she said.
In the forecast, Mantell, along with economists James W. Hughes and Joseph J. Seneca, of Rutgers University’s Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, discussed trends, the overall economic environment, policy and debt.
“New Jersey is in recovery, but it is very, very slow,” Mantell said. “We expect full recovery of the amount of jobs we had in 2007 by 2016.”
New Jersey lost 11,100 jobs in September — 5,800 in the private sector, and 5,300 in the public sector — as the state’s unemployment rate dipped by 0.2 percentage points. Mantell sees a further drop, to 8.8 percent, for 2012. The economists predict unemployment will reach 5.6 percent by 2021.
“Most of the employment growth will be in the service sectors, with very little change in the government sector, and positive growth in construction by the late part of that period. We will continue to see a decline in manufacturing, though some sectors could grow,” Mantell said. “One hopes there will be some improvement in manufacturing with new green industries, and I think New Jersey will continue to be the center of the pharmaceutical industry.”