A new economic forecast underscores once again how New Jersey has been dragging behind the nation in recovering from the Great Recession.

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A report from the Rutgers Economic Advisory Service (R/ECON) shows growth in New Jersey will continue to underperform, compared to the rest of the country.

Overall, New Jersey has recovered less than half of the 257,900 jobs lost during the Great Recession from January 2008 to January 2011. At this rate, the state's job base won't return to its peak level of 4.09 million jobs until mid-2017.

On the national level, full recessionary job loss recovered by May 2014, and is now 1.2 percent above its previous peak.

"I think the real concern is just that New Jersey is obviously growing really slowly," said Nancy Mantell, director of R/ECON. "This is already a pretty long recovery for the U.S., as well as for New Jersey, even though it hasn't gotten very far. So you have to worry, you know, how much longer?"

All job gains that New Jersey has made have been in the private sector, which has seen a 4.6 percent increase since the sector's trough in February 2010. Sectors that continue to see growth, according to Mantell, include professional and business services and education and health services. These jobs account for roughly 46 percent of New Jersey's job growth.

The forecast says the closure of four Atlantic City casinos this year obviously did not help the state's employment. A total of 8,000 workers lost their jobs with the closures of the Atlantic Club, Showboat, Revel and Trump Plaza.  The closing of Trump Taj Mahal this month could bring another 3,000 in job losses.

New Jersey's unemployment rate in 2015 will still hover around 6 percent, according to Mantell.

When it comes to personal income growth in 2015, there is some good news. Mantell said it will rise to 4.2 percent, compared to 2.3 percent in 2013 and 2.8 percent in 2014.  Consumer prices are also expected to rise in the state by 1.2 percent.