“So how is that Jersey Comebacky thing working out fer ya?”

Just what you wanted. Right?  Some economic data to read on the beach, in a hammock, or a comfortable chair while you get a tan. Just think of this as a quick summer read with “not so fun” facts about NJ.

  • Unemployment: March: 9.0%, April: 9.1%, and May: 9.2%. (US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

  • Total non-farm employment (12-month change) March 1.0%, April: 1.1%May: +1.6% (US Bureau of Labor Statistics) Note Christie in his address to the legislature last week said Our 12 month job increase was the sixth highest in the nation. Actually the percentage increase leaves the state in13th place for this month. (PolitiFact)

  • Our Indexes of Economic Indicators for April show economic activity grew at a modest pace in New Jersey. (N.Y. Federal Reserve Bank)

  • Gov. Chris Christie said he wouldn’t sign Assembly Speaker Oliver’s minimum wage bill (A2162) Star-Ledger

  • Triple veto by Christie on housing bills hurts our troubled housing recoverry and undermines NJ’s  economic recovery. Adam Gordon – Fair Share Housing Centers

    screw the poor and help the wealthy is his way toward a Jersey Comeback. It’s not working. However, the legislature after passing Marriage Equality, rejecting two ill-chosen Supreme Court nominees, and proposing separate Assembly and Senate property tax relief programs is showing pushback.

    In the meantime OLS based on new data now projects an additional  $50-100 million reduction in revenue collections through June 2013, increasing the total shortfall to $1.4 billion. Governor Christie has modified his budget to reflect only a $675 million shortfall.

    Christie has now given up on his across the board 10-% tax cut plan which would have been a bonanza for the wealthy,  and he signaled publicly at a Lyndenhust Town Show that he would compromise with something akin to the Senate’s property tax relief program. However, given that to meet even his new reduced projection of revenue he must increase borrowing against the transportation fund, redirect affordable housing funds, and use other gimmicks, it is apparent that we will not have the monies to meet basic obligations and to fund a property tax relief program.

    The parallel Assembly bill calls for a Millionaire’s tax, and yesterday Sen. Barbara Buono said she will introduce Senate legislation instituting a millionaire’s tax and dedicating the revenue generated to fund the Senate property tax relief plan. If Governor Christie acquiesces to a millionaire’s tax there should be monies for property tax relief. Otherwise, the legislature should wait until later in the year, and review the level of incoming tax revenue before making any decision.

    New Jersey is not enjoying a comeback, its economic growth is modest, and it is doing poorly in comparison with other states.

    Some are new and updated financial/economic data:

  • In 2011 real GDP increased in 43 states, with a national average of +1.5%. In NJ GDP decreased by 0.5%, and ranked 47th. The category of Real Estate, Rental, & Leasing contributed the largest percentage decrease for NJ: down 1.14% vs. an average decline nationwide of 0.32, ranking NJ 50th. Other declines were in Educational Services, Government, and Accommodations/Food Services. (U.S Dept. of Commerce – Bureau of Economic Statistics – June 5, 2012
  • 1 in every 1,842 NJ housing units received a foreclosure filing in April 2012, (RealtyTrak) and NJ’s percentage of home mortgage loans in foreclosure continues to rise, as rates nationally have fallen. NJ now has the second-highest percentage of mortgage loans in foreclosure – at 8.4% – behind only Florida at 14.3%. (NJ Real Estate Report)
  • Unemployment in April rose to 9.1%, as opposed to the national average of 8.1%, and NJ was only one of five states to have an increase in unemployment in April. (U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

  • The state’s seasonally adjusted job count fell by 8,600 in March. In the private sector, the loss totaled 11,600. (Treasury Department Chief Economist Charles Steindel) However, the number of new jobs added in April was insufficient to reverse the March loss. (NJ Department of Labor)

  • Our Indexes of Economic Indicators for April show economic activity grew at a modest pace in New Jersey. (N.Y. Federal Reserve Bank)

  • Our May general economic index, falling to a minus 5.8%, signals contraction in the area covering southern New Jersey. (Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank)

  • Fitch in August lowered NJ’s credit rating on general obligation bonds to AA-, its fourth step. The downgrade duplicated actions by Standard & Poor’s in February and Moody’s Investors Service in April. (New Jersey Newsroom)

  • Tax revenues through April are $230 million below the forecast for the first ten months of the current fiscal year. (State Department of Treasury)

  • Christie administration is now facing at least a $121 million shortfall in energy tax collections atop the $230 million shortfall revealed on Tuesday. (Assembly Budget Chair Vincent Prieto)

  • Christie administration and the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services are now about $850 million apart on revenue projections through fiscal 2013. (estimate of Senate Budget Chair Paul Sarlo)

    My guess is that on Wednesday the Treasurer will lower the tax revenue forecast somewhat, but leave open the possibility for a tax program to be negotiated.

    I can see Alaska from my house.  Or as she is quoted on Saturday Night Live: “I just hope the lame-stream media won’t twist my words by repeatin’ them verbatim. “

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