Through March, New Jersey had recovered less than 40 percent of the jobs it lost during the recession, while the United States overall has recovered 99 percent of the jobs lost, according to data from the U.S. Labor Department.
In the high-paying manufacturing sector, for instance, nearly 650,000 new jobs have been created nationally since Christie took office in early 2010. Over that same time, New Jersey's manufacturing employment has declined by nearly 18,000 jobs.
In housing, too, New Jersey is weakening while other areas improve. In the first quarter of 2014, it was the only state to see an increase in foreclosure rates. At 8 percent, its foreclosure rate is now the highest in the country, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
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And while most states have begun rebuilding their reserve funds, New Jersey's has continued to shrink and is now at its lowest level in a decade, according to Moody's Investors Service.
New Jersey's economy grew by 2 percent over the 12 months through the end of April. But neighbors Pennsylvania and Delaware grew by 4.2 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia index that combines four economic factors. The U.S. economy expanded by 3 percent using the same measure.
So why can't Christie catch the same tailwind that other states are riding?
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High property and business taxes, as well as a steeply progressive income tax system, are driving away high-income earners and middle-class homeowners, some say.
"When you have a business environment that's not progressive and you're not attracting new businesses or business expansions, the economic engine is bogged down and that equals lost revenue," said Dan Heckman senior fixed income strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management, which has been avoiding New Jersey bonds, now rated among the very lowest of all U.S. states. "They have been behind the eight ball for quite some time."