NEW JERSEY 101.5

New Jersey's state economist and other experts laid out their views of the state's current economic situation and what can be done to better its performance during Gov. Chris Christie' second term.

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"If the national economy would grow faster, New Jersey's economy would grow faster," said Charles Steindel, Chief Economist with the state Treasury Department, speaking at a forum in Trenton on Wednesday.

He noted national data shows ongoing growth since the recession, but there's still a long way to go to full recovery. Recent state data has been delayed due to the partial government shutdown. The latest job and housing permit numbers come from August.

New Jersey's unemployment rate has consistently ranked well above the national average, but Steindel said the difference is "exaggerated" by the shift in the labor force participation rate, both on the national and state level.

Steindel noted a common area of discussion during the forum was the construction industry, and its role in helping New Jersey's economic recovery.