N.J. Chamber survey: State’s executives say we are in recession

New Jersey business executives are seeing difficult economic times now and in the immediate future, and nearly seven in 10 said they believe the U.S. economy has entered a recession, according to a survey released Monday by the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.

Moreover, a majority of executives said the state’s efforts to support small business during the pandemic have fallen short.

Tom Bracken. (File photo)

“These survey results overwhelmingly confirm what we have been saying for months: The well-intentioned programs developed by the state to aid the business community and the recent credit upgrades — while good news — have not translated into substantive help for our businesses,” Tom Bracken, CEO and president of the chamber, said.

According to the survey, conducted between Aug. 2 and Aug. 21, and which generated 131 responses from executives that are members of the state chamber, as well as members of local and regional chambers of commerce throughout New Jersey, 68% said they believe the U.S. economy has entered a recession, and 71% believe it will last longer than a year.

Even among the business executives that do not believe the nation’s economy is in a recession, about half of them (51%) said they expect a recession will begin within the next 24 months, according to the survey.

“New Jersey business executives are navigating the land mines of inflation, supply shortages and labor shortages, so, it is no wonder they see difficult economic times now and in the immediate future,” Bracken said.

When asked to characterize New Jersey’s current business environment, 69% of respondents said New Jersey is unfriendly to business, and 31% of respondents said it is friendly to business.

“These respondents are the people in the trenches every day fighting to grow their businesses. We need to listen to what they say,” Bracken added.

The state’s response to the pandemic

Most respondents (58%) said the state of New Jersey’s efforts to support small business since the beginning of the pandemic has been ineffective. Nearly a third (31%) of respondents said the state’s response has been effective, and 11% said the response has been neither effective nor ineffective.

When asked for the single most important thing the state can do now to support their business, most (58%) respondents said reduce taxes on businesses and 16% said make capital grants available.

Chief concerns regarding running a business, according to the survey, include inflation (32%), labor shortage (23%) and supply-chain-related shortages (18%).

For full survey results, click here.