Rutgers Dean: NJ’s Economic Growth Has Been Slow Compared to the Nation

New Jersey’s economic recovery relies on its residents’ economic output and the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows New Jersey’s gross domestic product is growing at a snail’s pace. James Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, told NJTV News Anchor Mary Alice Williams that there are several metrics in the report that determine the state’s growth.

“A key one is a growth in totaled expenditures and that’s determined by two factors — population growth and income growth of individuals that are on a propagative basis,” said Hughes.

According to Hughes, the state’s population has been growing slower than the nation over the past several decades. He said that states that have very high total consumption expenditure increases include Texas, North Carolina and California. In addition, Hughes said that states that are energy producing and have natural gas resources, such as North Dakota, have the highest growth registered due to fracking and oil drilling.

Hughes said that New Jerseyans shouldn’t be alarmed over the data because New Jersey is within the top tier states in consumption per capita along with New York, Connecticut and Maryland. He also said that New Jersey is competitive with its peers but that it is stuck in the middle on the Atlantic sea board, which has been growing slower than the rest of the country.

In regards to spending in the state, Hughes said that New Jersey is paying more than the national average, particularly on housing and utilities.

“Some of the key variations are we spend much more on housing and utilities and that’s really due to the high cost of housing in New Jersey,” said Hughes. “Another survey called the American Housing Survey put New Jersey at number one in housing cost.”

That survey includes property taxes, so Hughes said, “That’s part of the entire equation.”

According to Hughes, New Jersey does spend less than other states on gasoline.

“But surprisingly one of the areas we’re spending less than the nation is on gasoline and I think that’s due to, New Jersey ranks number three among the states in mass transit using,” he said. “Approximately 11 percent of Garden Staters uses public transportation so that takes a little bit of the pressure, at least in the aggregate on gasoline prices.”