AbstractIn November 2004, New Jersey finally achieved the full recovery of all the jobs lost in the 2000–02 statewide economic downturn, surpassing the December 2000 pre-recession employment peak and setting a new historical employment high. New records were subsequently set each month for the next six months. Despite these milestones, the state has not yet entered the economic fast lane. Privatesector employment growth in New Jersey in 2003 and 2004 was weak compared to past state expansions. Moreover, New Jersey has traditionally been the regional economic locomotive, a role the state so ably played during the economic expansions of the 1980s and 1990s. But in 2004 New Jersey was no longer the “leader of the pack.” In addition, in 2004 the state’s growth rate started to fall behind the nation’s. Is this simply a temporary soft patch in the economic road to further prosperity, or is it a faltering of the state’s historic economic trajectory?
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