The economy nationwide continues to be stuck in the mud years after the end of the latest recession.

Though the economy is growing, the pace has been much slower than recoveries from the past five recessions. Whether its uncertainty about tax rates next year, a drastic drop in consumer spending or lack of hiring, there is fear of a fiscal collapse.

"The taxes, the laws, the regulations...all these things looking forward are making businesses reluctant to invest and also reluctant to take on new employees" said Maury Randall, a finance professor at Rider University.

He says New Jersey is not immune to the nationwide trend.

"I notice so many signs driving around the state, office space available, retail space for rent, so that is a sign of the tough times in Jersey."

The good news is that the housing market has improved, but Randall says it may still be awhile before consumers start spending at levels consistent with a recovery.

"The economy is growing slowly, incomes have not been growing, so consumers are being very cautious."

What will it take to jump start the economy? He said government officials will need to intervene.

"A lot of this hinges on the federal government, the tax rates that are due to expire at the end of this year, some of the state regulations, it will take an effort on their part to get things headed in the right direction."