With a population of 8.8 million and a steady economic growth over the last five years, New Jersey was one of the more stable economies in the USA. However, like all other states, The Garden State was hit heavily by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, which has seen the employment rates go down, economic growth halt, and thousands of families look for financial aid.
Now that the pandemic is finally subsiding and life is getting back to normal, we look at just how the pandemic has hurt New Jersey and how things are looking at this point. We also look at how things might look down the road and how long it may take for the damage to be fixed.
Massive Unemployment Spike in Early 2020
In January 2020, New Jersey had an unemployment rate of 3.7%, on par with the US average and not alarming. As the pandemic struck, New Jersey was one of the first states to get closed down, and with the number of infections being alarmingly high, the authorities were forced to take drastic steps. This quickly led to unemployment rates soaring, with as many as 16.6% of adult New Jersey residents staying unemployed.
Compared to the rest of the US, New Jersey was not doing very well, and more people were losing their jobs on average than in other states. This led to significant financial strain on thousands of families, who were now looking for help from the state. The federal aid packages were of help to The Garden State population. The employment rates are now finally going back to normal, with millions receiving the vaccines and rejoining the economy in full.
Massive Economic Losses
The lockdowns and social distancing measures imposed by the governments worldwide meant that the economies would suffer, and suffer they did. In New Jersey, major industries such as construction, entertainment, and hospitality all suffered multi-billion dollar losses during the pandemic months.
Some early projections for New Jersey were even worse than the actual outcome, but an overall loss of 34.6% in annualized GDP was significant and will be hard to recover from. Yet, the light at the end of the tunnel is now clearly visible, with the federal and state government working together to re-open the economy, bring back the lost jobs, and recover some of the lost revenues for thousands of businesses.
Atlantic City on its Knees
If there is one county in The Garden State that really depends on people getting around and enjoying life, it is Atlantic County. The popular Atlantic City brings in millions of tourists every year, who spend billions of dollars on luxury vacations that include all types of adult entertainment. Over the past year, many have chosen to stay home and play free casino games instead, with AC casinos closed, travel restrictions in place, and the actual risk of infection being too high.
The Atlantic City entertainment industry can breathe more easily now, as summer 2021 is around the corner and looks to be bringing back a sense of normalcy. The casinos are now open, the majority of all staff is vaccinated, and the tourists should be seen flocking in now that the federal state mandate for the vaccinated Americans has been lifted. All in all, good news on all fronts for the tens of thousands of workers whose livelihood depends on Atlantic City booming with life.
Featured Image by Leonhard Niederwimmer from Pixabay