Why is NJ lagging behind in job creation?
New data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows New Jersey's job growth from October 2013 to October 2014 was the second-worst in the nation.
Only Alaska, which actually lost jobs last year, was worse.
Over the past 12 months, the Garden State has added only 9,200 jobs, and Patrick O'Keefe, director of economic research at CohnReznick, believes there are several factors at play.
"New Jersey is a very wealthy state, but as a result of being a wealthy state, it's also a very expensive place to live and do business," O'Keefe said, "which means we're at a competitive disadvantage relative to other states where incomes are not as high."
He also pointed out that New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the nation.
"Therefore, when somebody wants to build a new business or increase residential opportunities, they face significant constraints in getting approvals as well as land and development costs."
O'Keefe said New Jersey is also a regionally integrated state, extremely dependent on what happens across either the Delaware or the Hudson River.
"Many of our residents work in New York and Pennsylvania, but if they lose their job, they're counted as being unemployed in New Jersey," he said.
However, at the same time, "we are a vigorously regulated state. It's a political decision we make, but as a result, it imposes higher costs."
Some experts have also theorized that the rise of millennials in the workforce, and their preference for flexibility, has left a state that once relied on its large, corporate campuses inadequately equipped for the changing economy.
So what does all of this mean?
"You put all of those things together, and it places the state at a competitive disadvantage relative to other states, and in a globally open economy, relative to other countries," O'Keefe said. "When businesses (or) employers are looking to start something new or to expand activities that are currently underway, New Jersey tends to be lower down on the list of sites that might be considered."
He also said over the past 40 to 50 years, there has been a lot of discussion about making the state more business-friendly.
"We have not, over that span of time, come up with -- and then put into place -- a strategy that would maintain for us the quality of life that we want, but at the same time enhance the ability of our economy to perform at a higher level," O'Keefe said.