An editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal confirms the Pew Charitable Trust data that Sunlight highlighted on Monday. The Pew data showed New Jersey’s dismal performance in rebuilding New Jersey’s prime-age employment (ages 28-54), with the number of employed declining -6% from pre-pandemic levels, 4th-worst in the nation.
While the entire Journal editorial is worth reading, Sunlight wants to highlight the comparison of the decline in payroll jobs between Republican-controlled states, which generally re-opened their economies and ended government payments earlier, versus the decline in Democrat-controlled states, including New Jersey, which had longer lockdowns and maintained government payments longer.
For the 12 largely Republican-controlled states, the average decline in payroll jobs from pre-pandemic levels was -0.5%. The national average was a decline of -2.7%. In the 8 mostly Democrat-controlled states, the average decline was -5.4%. Prolonged lockdowns and government payments in the Blue states took their toll on workers and businesses.
New Jersey’s decline was an abysmal -4.8%. That means hundreds of thousands fewer New Jerseyans are working. Of course, Gov. Murphy saw fit to raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy last year, and appears content to sock New Jersey businesses with additional unemployment compensation fees this year, which will serve to suppress businesses’ ability to hire at the same time it pays people not to work. So Murphy will effectively dig New Jersey’s hole deeper.
New Jersey voters registered their disapproval of the status quo by almost toppling Murphy and flipping seven Democratic seats in the legislature, but New Jersey remains a solidly Blue state. Murphy was re-elected with the overwhelming support of the public sector unions and cannot run for another term, which prompts us to ask once again: does Murphy even care?