New Jersey’s gross domestic product grew the largest in the northeastern United States and beat the national average for the third quarter of 2019 – which runs July 30 to Sept. 30 – according to federal data.
For that third quarter, the state’s GDP grew 2.3 percent, according to federal Bureau of Economic Analyses released Jan. 10, compared to the nationwide GDP average of 2.1 percent.
The nearest state that saw higher growth than New Jersey was Tennessee, whose GDP grew 2.4 percent in the third quarter.
“This is good news for the state’s economy,” reads a Jan. 10 analysis from Nicole Sandelier, an economic policy analyst at the New Jersey Business & Industry Association. “After two quarters of lackluster growth, this jump in economic output will help put New Jersey back in the middle of the pack for the year.”
For the third quarter, the strongest-performing economic sectors were in manufacturing; retail trade; and professional, scientific and technical services, according to the BEA.
“New Jersey’s relatively strong increase was fueled by an outside gain in output by our nondurable manufacturers; a group that includes industries such as pharma and refining,” Charles Steindel, a former New Jersey state economist, said in a Friday analysis from the conservative think tank Garden State Initiative.
“That’s quite welcome news, of course, from a sector that has been troubled for years.”
Various economic analyses have shown New Jersey as one of the few states still struggling to fully rebound from the Great Recession, which rocked the global economy over a decade ago.
As recently as June, New Jersey was just one of three states that failed to rebuild its rainy day fund following the economic downturn, joining only Kansas and Montana. And an August report by the nonprofit Pew Charitable Trust showed that as of late 2018, New Jersey was one of 10 states which still had not fully regained the level of tax income seen prior to the recession.
In mid-May, a Moody’s report found that New Jersey and Illinois were the two states least-prepared for an economic recession, which is considered highly likely in the next two years.
The Murphy administration jumped on the May study as justification for Gov. Phil Murphy’s decision, when signing the current state budget on June 30, 2019, to put more than $400 million into the state’s rainy day fund—a first since the fund was completely drained in 2009.
New Jersey’s economic growth, Steindel suggested, is “unlikely to last.”
“One good quarter certainly does not mean the long-term trend has been reversed,” Steindel added. “In other sectors which are more likely keys to the state’s ongoing growth, such as professional services management, information, and finance, at best the state kept pace with the nation, rather than leading.”