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New Jersey Business Owners Expect Worst Start to Year Since 2009

Elise Young

(Bloomberg) -- New Jersey business owners reported that growth rates slowed for annual profits, sales and purchases in 2019, with most saying their outlook for the state’s economy is at its lowest in a decade, an annual survey shows.

Members of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association expect the new year’s first six months to be their weakest since 2009, as the Great Recession was taking hold. More than half say they’re bracing for a recession in 2020 or 2021, according to the Trenton-based group’s 61st annual survey, released on Wednesday.

Almost 80% of respondents said the high-cost state was a fair or poor place to open or expand. Almost 90% said taxes and fees were worse in New Jersey than elsewhere. Among the top concerns were controlling government spending and the costs of labor, health care and compliance.

“While our greatest assets like our schools and workforce continue to rank high, the factors driving our ability to afford those assets continue to be even more expensive and of greater concern year over year,” Michele Siekerka, the group’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elise Young in Trenton at eyoung30@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Flynn McRoberts at fmcroberts1@bloomberg.net, Michael B. Marois, William Selway

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