Hold Off on the Victory Lap: New Jersey Job Growth Remains Slow Despite October Bump

Even though New Jersey had a good month for job growth in October, it’s clear that the Garden State’s employment situation remains fragile even though the Great Recession has officially been over for more than six years. While the state’s slower-than-average economic growth is the result of many factors, it’s clear that the approach favored by policymakers over the past half-decade is not working. And the end result is continued stress and strain on New Jersey’s low-income and middle-class families.

Since the recession’s start, New Jersey has approved $7 billion in corporate tax subsidies, slashed taxes for businesses by $2.3 billion and for millionaires by at least $3.6 billion, while failing to invest in schools, our transportation networks, higher education, small business development and the other building blocks of a strong state economy.

Trying to build a strong state economy with tax cuts alone is like trying to make your car faster by taking the engine out – it just doesn’t work. New Jersey’s $13 billion in tax cuts and subsidies haven’t stoked economic growth, and they’ve drained the state of the fuel needed to get us down the road to prosperity.

Perhaps, then, it’s no surprise that New Jersey has recovered only 78 percent of the jobs it lost since the recession’s start – a much smaller share than the nation as a whole (149 percent) and our neighboring states (118 percent in Pennsylvania and 282 percent in New York). New Jersey has had the seventh-slowest job growth of the states since December 2007, and is one of just 12 states that hadn’t yet recovered all the jobs it lost in the recession.

jobs recovered oct 2015-01

And the news gets worse.

Since New Jersey hasn’t even been able to recover all the jobs it lost in the recession, it’s employment growth certainly hasn’t been keeping up with a growing population. In order to have done both, the state would need to have 309,600 more jobs right now than it currently does. And in order for New Jersey to have done both by October 2018, the state would need to add 120,000 jobs each year – or 10,000 per month each and every month. In the past 12 months, by contrast, New Jersey has added just 54,400 jobs – or about 4,500 per month.