NJ Spotlight: New Jersey's Near-Term Economic Outlook: Glass Half Empty or Half Full

As the new year begins, New Jersey is enjoying low unemployment and rising wages — two signs that the stronger state economy Gov. Phil Murphy frequently talks about could be gaining traction.

But concerns remain about how to best address the state’s ongoing fiscal challenges. Also troubling: the possibility that continued economic growth could be derailed by political dysfunction in Trenton or a national recession.

A decision on one big issue that will impact the future of the New Jersey economy — establishing a statewide $15 minimum wage — was already pushed off into 2019 by Murphy, a first-term Democrat, and legislative leaders from his own party. Although a deal may be close, Murphy, Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester), and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex) were still working out differences as 2018 wound down on whether some groups should be carved out, at least initially, from earning the higher wage.

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