State Chamber Survey:
Members Optimistic About New Jersey's Economy
Most Would Back a Run for President by Christie
Once He Finishes His Work in N.J.
New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce members are optimistic about the state's business climate over the next 12 months, with most (56 percent) saying they expect their companies' revenue to jump - and one in four expecting the increase to exceed 5 percent, according to a recent survey conducted by the State Chamber.
Chamber members also said they would consider supporting Gov. Chris Christie if he threw his hat in the ring for the U.S. presidency, but with a caveat - they want him to finish his business in New Jersey first. While two-thirds of the respondents reported they would support a run for president by Christie, most of them said they would do so after he finishes his term as governor.
These findings are the results of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce's Business Climate Survey for spring, 2011 conducted in late March of 2011.
Chamber members feel better about the prospects of their companies' sales and about half expect their profits to rise too. But only 17 percent expect their profits to exceed 5 percent.
Interestingly, when asked about revenue and profits in their industries overall, Chamber members became slightly less bullish - with only one in ten expecting industry profits to increase by more than five percent.
"The results tell us our members see significant challenges still to be overcome, but they believe New Jersey is finally headed in the right direction," said Thomas A. Bracken, president and CEO of the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce. "They are telling us they expect continuing improvement in New Jersey's economy and that this year is better than last and next year will be better still."
Optimism About Job Picture Lags
Survey respondents were considerably more guarded about the state's jobs picture.
Over half (56 percent) of respondents said they expected no change in the number of employees in their own company this year and about 45 percent said the same about their industry over the next 12 months. About 29 percent envision more hiring, while one in four predict less.
"Employment is traditionally a lagging indicator of economic recovery and that seems to be the case in this survey," said Bracken. "While half our members expect the unemployment picture to remain unchanged this year, it is notable that among the other half, considerably more companies expect an increase in the workforce than expect to see a decrease."
When asked to predict the state of New Jersey's economy in the spring of 2012, slightly more than half of respondents said they expected moderate growth. Only eight percent see the economy getting worse over the next 12 months.
Chamber Members Support Gov. Christie
When asked to characterize the state's economy since Gov. Christie took office in January 2010, six in ten respondents credited him for the state's emerging economic turnaround. Of those, slightly more than half characterized this improvement as "moderate." About a third said there has been no change.
One in three respondents expressed moderate or extreme concerns about the cost of energy and its impact on the state's economic recovery.
The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce's Business Climate Survey will be conducted twice annually. It is designed to measure the outlook of the State Chamber's members, which range from single entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies in a wide array of fields. A total of 118 members participated in the survey. Four in ten respondents are presidents and CEOs and six in ten said they are senior level executives. Half of the respondents represent companies with less than 50 employees and nearly half have revenues above $10 million.
The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce is a business advocacy organization that represents its members on a wide range of business and education issues. Based in Trenton, the organization also links the state's local and regional chambers on issues of importance through its grassroots legislative network. For more information, visit www.njchamber.com.