NJEDA’s Rich Kasmin | NJ’s Economy is Staying the Course, but Presidential Election is Biggest Unknown

CAPRE: Thanks for chatting with us today, Richard. Tell us about what you do in New Jersey. Kasmin: I’m the Chief Economist for the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA). That means I do a couple of things – I track what’s going on with the New Jersey economy and also in sectors identified in Governor Murphy’s economic development strategic plan as having high growth potential. CAPRE: So what do you see happening on the ground in the Garden State? How did 2019 play out? Kasmin: The economy in New Jersey grew at a soft rate in 2019. The Trump Tariff War had a high impact on states with strong ties to trade, and New Jersey is one of them. The positive going into 2020 is that we’re seeing significant entrepreneurial activity, a solid amount of business creation, and investment in high value-added areas. We also still see a lot of strong growth in the area of services. CAPRE: So how are we doing in relation to other nearby states? Kasmin: We’ve held our own or even done better in some high value-added industries as opposed to the northeast. This has been a bit of a turn. New Jersey has really under-performed for awhile, since the end of the recession really. Some of it is a matter of time, and so there’s a bit of healing happening in New Jersey. We’ve finally started to see, however, some better growth in…