Gov. Chris Christie says there are good things happening with New Jersey's economy in terms of business startups and people confident about the future. Speaking to the African American Chamber of Commerce this week, the governor touted a record 97,800 new business startups in New Jersey in 2015, only to be replaced by a new record 103,000 new startups in 2016.

Keith Brofsky, ThinkStock

Rutgers University economist James Hughes sees growth in 2017, but slow growth.

"New Jersey is a mature state, and we are a slow-growing state," Hughes said. "I think that the economy (in New Jersey) right now is simply muddling through. We have been lagging throughout the national economic expansion. The numbers are quite clear: we should be adding about 72,000 private sector jobs per year based upon our share of the national economy."

Where are the winners and loser in the state's economy? Hughes sees expansion in healthcare and distribution logistics, but says government is not going to grow.

"We really do have extraordinary activity in fulfillment centers, logistics, distribution and the like, because of our geography. So that sector is going to do very well."

He says construction should hold up pretty well through the year unless rising interest rates slow that down. But Hughes says we will see a weakness in retailing.

"I think that we are going to lose two Macy's in the coming year as they retrench. The bottom line has been modest growth at best."

Hughes says financial, professional and business services will also "hold their own" in 2017.

The good news about New Jersey's economy this year, according to Hughes: "I do not see a big single loser on the horizon."

 

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