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Center Square NJ: New Jersey’s GDP took big hit in first quarter, but not as bad as some neighbors
By Ben Kahn
(The Center Square) – Data made public recently by the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis revealed that staggering despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, New Jersey’s economy fared a touch better than many of its neighbors in the first quarter of 2020.
New Jersey saw its gross domestic product drop by 5.5 percent in the three-month period from January to March, 35th worst in the U.S. Neighboring Pennsylvania and Delaware both saw 5.6 percent declines, and New York’s plummeted by 8.2 percent, tied for worst in the country with Nevada.
The state that fared the best was Nebraska, losing only 1.3 percent of its GDP during the pandemic.
The Garden State Initiative, a public policy nonprofit, asked former New Jersey Chief Economist Charles Steindel to evaluate the GDP numbers. What he found was that New Jersey was more or less aligned with the majority of the country.
“Our real GDP fell at a 5.5% annual rate; a bit lower than the national decline of 5.0%,” Steindel wrote. “Our performance was a bit softer than the nation’s simply because we shut down earlier than most, so sectors such as real estate (which is largely estimated from sales transactions) and wholesale and retail trade fell more than elsewhere.”
Across the United States, there were myriad reasons for state GDPs decreasing – the primary reason for 29 states was a drop in accommodation and food services, which saw a 26.8 percent drop nationwide. Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting declined by 15.5 percent nationally and was the primary cause of a states’ decline in GDP for 17 states.
Read the full report here.