Survey: Nearly 2 in 3 CPAs feel N.J. economy will worsen in 2nd half of year

Fears about inflation, finding available personnel are top business concerns

New Jersey’s economy is going to get worse as the year goes on.

At least, that’s the opinion of nearly two of three CPAs surveyed in May by the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Nearly 65% of the 441 CPAs surveyed expected the New Jersey economy to get worse during the second half of the year — with nearly three in four (73%) saying inflation was the biggest challenge businesses face.

Additional challenges cited were the availability of skilled personnel (57%); state and fiscal policies that are unfriendly to businesses (42%); supply chain problems (35%); and regulatory requirements (27%).

Over the next 12 months, the majority of respondents said the most helpful governmental steps for businesses would be inflation-fighting measures (74%); reducing burdensome regulations (65%); and keeping the corporate tax rate low (51%).

“The government must make fighting inflation the biggest priority — if not, we will return to years of stagflation,” one respondent said.

The results were in stark contrast to a survey taken at similar time in 2021. Then, more than 40% of respondents said they believed the economic conditions in the U.S. would improve, and 35% believed the New Jersey economy would improve. This year, those numbers were only 9% and 7%, respectively.

Ralph Thomas, the CEO and executive director of the NJCPA, said the results of the survey are telling.

“Surveys like this give a great indication of what the business community thinks of the current environment for doing business and the potential for improvement,” he said.

The survey, sponsored by Investors Bank, a division of Citizens Bank, was conducted to gauge CPAs’ outlook on the national and New Jersey economies.