Touting the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that show the unemployment rate in New Jersey is below the national rate, Gov. Chris Christie said, “It’s time for us to start writing the story of New Jersey’s economic success.”
“It continues to make me wonder what the agenda is when we continue to say that New Jersey lagged. That’s an old story. That’s a three-year-old story. And there’s no question that we lagged earlier, but we now exceed the entire region.” The governor was speaking yesterday at a press conference on employment and the economy at a high-tech incubator in North Brunswick.
Christie credited Republican policies for an economy he characterized as resurgent. “What I’d suggest to you is that Republican policies on the economy work and they are working, not just in our state but in some of our neighboring states … But none of them are working better than they’re working here. We have more New Jerseyans employed today than at any time in the state’s history.”
Asked if average New Jerseyans believe the economy is buoyant, the governor said they don’t because the press does not report it. “How else are people supposed to know about this unless you report it?” he asked.
“The bad stuff gets reported and repeated, and repeated and repeated like 11 credit downgrades,” Christie said. “But 4.1 unemployment, the lowest unemployment in the region, more in New Jersey employed at any time in the state’s history, lowest unemployment rate in 16 years, better performance than any of our neighboring states, you may report it today, but it won’t get repeated over and over again,” he added.
Gordon MacInnes, president of the progressive think tank New Jersey Policy Perspective and formerly a state senator, cast the state’s economy in a far different light. “If you think about what’s happened since the Great Recession, we’re 42 in the nation in terms of job growth,” MacInnes said, adding, “We are way behind New York, which has created two and a half times more jobs than it had when the Great Recession hit and we’re barely at the point of restoring 100 percent of those jobs … We are settled in at a very sluggish rate in terms of job production and the kind of jobs we’re producing.”
Christie addressed other subjects at the New Brunswick press conference, including what it was like being booed at a Mets game, and the kerfuffle between President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
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