Survey: Will N.J.’s economy remain as is or worsen by end of 2023?

Most CPAs are divided, but respondents are more positive than last year

How about that economy?

The answer may not be that good: 44% of 434 certified public accountants surveyed by the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants believed New Jersey’s economy is expected to stay about the same during the second half of the year compared to the first half … but an equal number (44%) believed it will worsen, and only 12% think it will improve.

Inflation and the ability to find skilled personnel are two of the biggest challenges facing survey participants this year, at 66% and 53%, respectively, followed by state and federal policies that are unfriendly to businesses (40%) and rising interest rates (39%).

Going forward, respondents said the most helpful steps government could take to improve business conditions include implementing measures to ease inflation (73%) and reducing burdensome regulations (66%). Respondents recommended addressing the needs of small business, lessening the tax burdens of individuals, cutting government spending, reducing the pension burden and incentivizing people to work.

“As strategic advisers to their clients and organizations, CPAs are good sounding boards about the business environment. Our members always have a great read on what’s important for growth and sustaining business operations,” Aiysha Johnson, executive director and CEO of the NJCPA, said.

This year’s survey, conducted in June and sponsored by Bernstein Private Wealth Management, was conducted to gauge CPAs’ outlook on the national and New Jersey economies midway through the year.

The moderate stance is more positive than the same economic survey initiated by the NJCPA in 2022, which showed nearly 65% of CPAs believed New Jersey’s economy would worsen during the second half of the year and 28% of CPAs believed economic conditions in the state would stay the same. Only 7% thought it would improve.

Last year, the survey showed similar top concerns, but inflation at that time was a heavier worry at 73%, followed by the availability of skilled personnel at 57%.

“Surveys like this one are a good way to gauge sentiment in all facets of society. It’s not surprising that inflation was more of a concern last year,” Roosevelt Bowman, a senior investment strategist with Bernstein Private Wealth Management, said.

On a broader scale, respondents this year were also more positive about the national economy. A higher majority (47%) believed the U.S. economy would stay the same during the second half of the year, and 37% said it would worsen, while last year only 23% said it would stay the same and 69% said it would worsen.

To watch an interview with Bowman about the survey results, click here.