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Indicators pointing up in New Jersey.

It is probably an understatement to say that the New Jersey economy and its prospects for economic expansion have changed dramatically in the recent few years.

The national recession has had a dramatic effect on New Jersey. For instance, the era of speculative construction is over. Economic development professionals (brokers/developers) have seen their ranks pared down as other firms similarly have. You now have only the strongest and most resilient firms positioned to address economic development opportunities in New Jersey as they reappear.

Some things have continued right through the recessionary period. For instance, manufacturing continues to decline in the state. However, the recent downturn in other economic sectors, which had a counter balancing effect, has magnified awareness of those manufacturing losses.

Where does all this leave us? First, as a state we should be preparing ourselves for economy recovery, which eventually will come. New Jersey has begun to do this. Infrastructure needs are being addressed, as witnessed by the recent completion of the Waterfront Connection rail link from a transportation perspective and the lifting of sewer moratoria in 43 Bergen County communities with the increase in treatment capacity at the Bergen County Utility Author sewer treatment facilities. We obviously must continue to address transportation, waste treatment, affordable housing and education infrastructure needs among others.

As we get ready for these renewed economic development opportunities where will they most likely come from? International opportunities for the state should be positively impacted by the EC'92 phenomenon, as well as recent development in Eastern Europe. Some economists have even gone so far as to suggest that New Jersey could become to Europe what California is to the Pacific Rim countries, given its critical location, ports, and incredibly strong economy (don't forget New Jersey is still the only state in the northeast with a AAA credit rating). Additionally, market-oriented industrial activity should continue. Printers, plastics injection molders, apparel related firms, computer software, and recyclers should continue to find New Jersey attractive. Research and development firms similarly should identify the State as a location, given the incredible concentration of R & D firms already here, as well as New Jersey's concentration of engineers and scientists (highest in the Nation). Finally, administrative offices and back-office/data processing operations will find the state ideal with its location near National and World financial centers in New York and Philadelphia and its innately less expensive operating and occupancy costs.

The inevitable has begun to happen! Our prospect activity through the first quarter of 1992 is up approximately 30 percent over the same period last year. Our new "New Jersey in the 90's" campaign has generated, to date, nearly 8,000 requests for information on the state's business opportunities. Most importantly, crucial indicators of the increasing likelihood of new business investment have been moving in a positive fashion. Consumer confidence, residential and retail business activity have all begun to track in an upward direction. Our experience in economic development trends leads us to believe that within three to six months industrial and commercial activity will similarly move increasingly in a positive direction.
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Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Review and Forecast, Section V
Author:Kukan, Stephen J.
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Jun 24, 1992
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