Analysis: Personal income in New Jersey lags national average

(Roman Oleinik/Wikimedia Commons)

(The Center Square) – Personal income in New Jersey continues to lag behind the national average as government relief programs enacted amid the COVID-19 pandemic conclude.

That was the finding of a Garden State Initiative (GSI) analysis of a personal income report for the second quarter from the United States Bureau of Economic Analysis.

New Jersey’s 7.4% growth is well below the national average of 10.7% in the net earnings category, according to the GSI review. The state’s income decline was in line with most neighboring states, the analysis found.

“All states experienced sharp declines in personal income in the second quarter of this year, as pandemic relief programs started to wind down,” Charles Steindel, the former chief economist of the New Jersey Treasury, said in an analysis for GSI. “Superficially, New Jersey seemed to do better than most: our decline in personal income was ‘only’ -16.6% (at an annual rate), which was much less than the national figure of -21.8%.

However, Steindel noted that net earnings in New Jersey, including wages and other compensation paid to New Jersey residents and the incomes of unincorporated businesses, grew at a 7.4% rate. That is “well less” than the national pace of 10.7%.

“Lagging gains in incomes earned in Leisure and Hospitality played an important role in this gap,” Steindel added. “New Jersey’s income numbers were at least on a par, or better [than] the Mideast region, which as a whole saw overall income fall at a 19.7% rate, and net earnings rising at a 6.9% rate, but we continue our long trend of trailing the nation in the critical earnings category.”

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