Executives in the state say the economy is no longer heading toward a recession—a downturn has already arrived. Survey results released Sept. 19 by the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce found 68% of respondents say a recession has begun.
Beyond that, 71% say they think the downturn will last longer than a year.
For those executives who think the U.S. is not yet in a recession, more than half (51%) say they expect one to set in within the next two years.
However, when asked “What is your belief with regard to whether the U.S. economy will enter a recession in the near future?” 49% of survey respondents said no.
“New Jersey business executives are navigating the land mines of inflation, supply shortages and labor shortages, so it is no wonder they see difficult economic times now and in the immediate future,” NJ Chamber President and CEO Tom Bracken said in a statement.
Looking ahead, 43% of respondents said they expect the economy to be worse in July 2023 than it was for that month this year: 28% each said it would be “about the same” or “better.” Interestingly, in spite of that outlook, 39% of respondents said they expect their business to be better next July than it was this past year; 31% expect worse and 30% “about the same.”
Also weighing on executives are persistent effects from the pandemic.
According to the NJ Chamber, 58% of respondents characterized state efforts to support small businesses since the onset of COVID-19 as ineffective; 31% described those efforts as effective, while 11% said they were neither.
Top of mind
When asked to rank chief concerns for running their businesses, the survey found:
32% – inflation
23% – labor shortage
18% – supply-chain-related shortages
15% – employee health costs
“These survey results overwhelmingly confirm what we have been saying for months: The well-intentioned programs developed by the state to aid the business community and the recent credit upgrades – while good news – have not translated into substantive help for our businesses,” Bracken said. “These respondents are the people in the trenches every day fighting to grow their businesses. We need to listen to what they say.”
As for how the state can do more to help: 58% of respondents called for reduced taxes on businesses while 16% said capital grants should be made available.
Overall, most respondents said the state’s current business climate was unfriendly to business (69%), while about a third (31%) thought the opposite.
After raising interest rates by 0.75% in July, the Federal Reserve Board is next scheduled to meet regarding monetary policy this week, Sept. 20-21.
The Chamber of Commerce survey ran from Aug. 2 to Aug. 21, polling executives who are members of the organization; members of local and regional chambers throughout the state were invited to take part, as well. The survey generated 131 responses.