By Helene Jorgensen
If this were 2007 we would be rejoicing about the rapid growth in incomes. Income for the typical household was growing at an astonishing rate of 7.4 percent per year, after adjusting for inflation. Most New Jersey households saw their income rise at rates that outpaced inflation.
Where did this new income come from? The New Jersey economy was not adding many new jobs. Employment was increasing by only 36,000 per year in the mid 2000s, despite the economic upswing. In comparison, New Jersey’s economy added 67,100 jobs annually during the growth years from 1992-2000. The number of people working had not increased either, as measured by the employment-to-population ratio. Real wages were stagnating for the bottom one-third of wage earners.
It is now 2011, not 2007, and the economic picture looks very different. Real incomes were lower in 2010 than in 2007 for most households. Only high-income households were better off. Unemployment was at its highest rate in 35 years, and the number of children living in poverty increased by 16 percent in just two years.
What happened? Where did the income gains come from and where did they go? This is the focus of The State of Working New Jersey 2011: The Lost Decade — you can download the full report here, or read it embedded below.
And remember: if you like our reports, please consider a tax-deductible contribution to NJPP!
Help us help New Jersey's working families. Make a tax-deductible donation today.