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A struggle to find optimism in South Jersey


According to the survey, 36 percent of responding firms reported lower levels of business activity during the third quarter, with 32 percent of responding companies that reported higher levels of activity. According to the survey, just 8 percent reported increased hiring; 35 percent reported reductions in staff.

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									A struggle to find optimism in South Jersey
                                                                                                                                                                     Looking six months ahead, 30 percent
                                                                                                                                                               of responders believed sales would improve,
                                                                                                                                                               while 20 percent expect sales to diminish over
                                                                                                                                                               the same period.
Grim employment forecast casts doubt on some good economic signs                                          “We don’t try to tabulate those or make                    Trebing said the Federal Reserve Bank
                                                                                                          judgments. When things are tough, we get             of Philadelphia may in the future develop
          By João-PIErrE S. ruth                    positive sign. “When inventories draw down,           more complaints.”                                    surveys for specific industries that are
FINdING A SILvER lining in the local economy        companies have to manufacture more,”                        For third quarter 2009, the responders         cyclically sensitive. Professional business
takes some doing, based on the latest South         Worrall said. “That’s a good sign.”                            indicated a reading of -3.6 on an index     services, accounting services and outsourcing
Jersey Business Survey issued earlier this month.         And while Worrall said southern                          of general activity — its highest rating    services are subject to different pressures than
Members of the Chamber of Commerce Southern         New Jersey’s labor market is not                               since the second quarter of 2007 — an       education and health care, he said.
New Jersey maintained their pessimism regarding     worse off as a whole compared to                               improvement over the -9.9 reading                 Worrall said companies operating in the
employment, but they expected sales to increase     other parts of the state, pockets of                           registered in the second quarter of 2009.   state are trying to weather the economy, but
over the next six months. That means as business    deep unemployment can be found.                                      According to the survey, 36           predicted newcomers would resist opening up
slowly picks up, employers in southern New          “If you look at the county level, you                          percent of responding firms reported        shop in New Jersey.
Jersey may be cautious about bulking up their       see some with more than 12 percent                             lower levels of business activity during          “Where we do lose is firms considering
staff to meet demand.                               unemployment,” he said.                     John D. Worrall    the third quarter, with 32 percent of       entering the state and doing business here,” he
       The quarterly survey, conducted by the             Trebing said 139 members of                              responding companies that reported          said. As the cost of doing business increases,
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, polled        the chamber responded to the latest survey,           higher levels of activity.                           New Jersey’s tax and regulatory climate may
chamber members on general business activity,       representing the gamut of major industries,                 Some good news could be found in sales,        discourage companies from relocating here,
employment levels, inventories and sales.           including retail, wholesale and manufacturing.        which improved
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