Business Report: Rising inflation, moratorium on utility shut-offs, high cost of living in NJ

Prices for food, gas, rent, and vehicles are all rising

Chances are that your paycheck may not be keeping up with your bills, as the prices you pay for food, gas, rent, and vehicles are all rising. The government reported Thursday that inflation rose 5% in the past 12 months as of May. That is the biggest jump in inflation since 2008. Over the past year energy costs rose more than 28%. Food prices rose too, but only by about 2%. One area where prices actually declined was medical care.

Economists say wages may increase further, though, as companies could have to sweeten pay to fill open positions. And more people are coming off unemployment to snag those available jobs. New jobless claims have fallen for six straight weeks and are at a post-pandemic low.

State regulators are still working on ways to help utility customers pay their overdue bills. They’ve got some breathing room now that Gov. Phil Murphy extended the moratorium on utility shut-offs until Jan. 1. One item being discussed is expanding various assistance programs. The incoming president of PSE&G, Kim Hanemann, says the utility has been trying to get the word to its customers about help that’s available. PSE&G is a funder of NJ Spotlight News.

The high costs of living and working in New Jersey have prompted some of the state’s accountants to advise their clients to leave the state. A survey by the New Jersey Society of CPAs found that more than 50% of the accountants said they have advised an individual or business client to leave the state because it’s expensive. Almost 70% of the 440 accountants surveyed saw a decrease in the number of high-income clients who have residency in New Jersey.

New Jersey businesses and nonprofits that moved into a new space will receive priority for low-cost loans from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. They can receive financing of up to $100,000. According to the EDA, the program is designed for those eligible businesses that were unable to receive other COVID-19 relief programs.

WATCH: Business Report: Details on campaign spending, Senate Republicans want changes to Gov. Murphy’s budget plan

MORE: Business Report: More state aid for businesses, why women are leaving the workforce, unfilled jobs at record high