New Jersey residents are relatively divided over the health of the state’s business community but appear to be optimistic about the housing market’s prospects, according to a new Farleigh Dickinson PublicMind Poll released Tuesday.The poll found that while 38 percent of residents said the state’s business climate has worsened in the past year, 28 percent said it has gotten better and another 26 percent reported that it has stayed the same. The outlook, however, remains positive as 42 percent said 2014 will prove to be stable and 32 percent said the environment for business will improve. Just 19 percent said it will get worse over the course of the year.
“The full impact of the Affordable Care Act is not yet known, so perhaps the changing nature of healthcare is affecting residents’ attitudes toward business in the state,” poll director Krista Jenkins said.
When it comes to personal finances, the majority of residents, some 48 percent, reported that they expect their economic situations to remain unchanged by this time next year. Though 30 percent said they foresee improvement, just 17 percent said they expect their financial situation to worsen.
“We’ve certainly seen stronger numbers in both prospective and retrospective evaluations of one’s personal finances,” Jenkins said. “On the one hand, things don’t seem to be worsening. But at the same, the long-awaited economic recovery still seems slow to arrive in New Jersey.”
One area that did see some optimism for the first time in several years was the state’s housing market, according to the poll. Just 5 percent said that home values in their area are likely to drop in 2014, compared to 38 percent who said the same in 2013.
“Before any major recovery can occur, stabilization is key,” Jenkins said. “These numbers suggest that at least in public perception, the housing market appears to be turning the tide on its seemingly persistent march to depressed values.”
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