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The first two quarters of 2014 ended on a sour note in New Jersey, but the third quarter should have the state’s economy rallying along.
The Commerce Department said Monday that the state added jobs for the first time since May and added jobs at a lower pace than previously expected.
While that’s good news, it’s not the kind of boost that might bring about a short term uptick in consumer confidence, which tends to stabilize when the economy is booming.
Still, the economic outlook is improving. Last week, the New Jersey Economic Strategy and Research Group reported the state was adding jobs at a 1.3 percent rate in May. The unemployment rate, which strips out discouraged workers, was a mere 1.5 percent.
So is that the state’s “slowest payroll recovery since 2010”?
The state, home to many Fortune 500 companies, did employ more than 1.05 million people at the end of May, according to the labor department. That’s a growth rate that would put New Jersey on its way in 2014 to its highest levels in nine years.
Still, economists who track the U.S. job market for the Economic Strategy Group agree that the state is not likely to get to 2.0 percent growth in the third quarter.
What is sure, they say, is that the fourth quarter will show growth in the second-quickest pace since March 2007.
“There’s absolutely no doubt this will be the fastest payroll recovery in New Jersey,” said Stephen Lendman, vice president for economic research at ESRG.
The trend line shows the job growth rate will rise to 7.6 percent in the fourth quarter, from 6.8 percent in the third quarter.
That’s a pretty good start, the analysts say, but it’s much less than the 6.9 percent growth rate that would have put the state on pace to surpass 2.0 percent growth in the first three months of 2014 if the recession were still lingering. The numbers also suggest the state will remain close to its long-term unemployment rate of 7.1 percent once those workers have been rehired.
Lendman said a rebound in consumer confidence would also help the state, especially if the recent economic growth had continued into the second quarter.
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