Yesterday, the American Enterprise Institute hosted an address by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie titled ‘It’s Time to Do the Big Things.’ So, how is New Jersey doing on the big things that really matter to the living standards of the state’s middle class and working class families?
As it turns out, not so well.
Even as employment in the U.S. slowly increased during 2010, New Jersey continued to experience job losses. In the year after Christie took office, non-farm payroll employment in the Garden State fell by 30,700 jobs from 3.859 million in December 2009 to 3.828 million in December 2010.
Average hourly earnings are down in nominal terms over the year to November 2010 (most recent available data) from $26.84 to $25.78 and weekly earnings over the same period declined by nearly $31, from $909.88 to $879.10.
New Jersey’s unemployment rate remains above 9 percent, with much of last year’s modest improvement in the unemployment rate due to the shrinking labor force, with nearly 41,000 workers going missing during the year.
Attacking teachers and public sector workers, failing to make required payments to the state’s pension fund, reducing payments to cash-strapped cities and municipalities, and cutting state programs may make great political theater, as a self-satisfied Christie seems to think. And it may mesmerize his fellow Republicans. But the evidence is clear – these policies have hurt, not helped, New Jersey’s economy.