The New Jersey economy remains relatively strong but inflation and supply chain disruption issues have caused problems for many New Jersey businesses, and there is growing concern among workers about possible layoffs.

According to Carl Van Horn, the director of the Rutgers University John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, the tech sector and other industries have seen some contraction, and the result is an increase in the so-called practice of “career cushioning.”

He said career cushioning is a new term for an old phenomenon.

“When people start getting anxious about their prospects for remaining employed they begin to think about other strategies, which is a smart thing to do,” he said.

What steps you should be taking

He said career cushioning involves employees brushing up their resumes, reaching out and touching base with friends and contacts in a variety of different ways.

“They may begin thinking about moving or starting a business, or switching to a company that they think is more stable," he said.

“It’s all about making yourself available and working your network, the people you know you start with, people you work with, people that you have been their customer, they’ve been your customer.”

“When you want to get pulled out of that long list of people that have applied for a job the best way to do that is to know someone, and that’s where the personal network comes in.”

nensuria GettyImages
nensuria GettyImages

Van Horn said that what people are concerned about right now:

Can I get the job I want?

Can I keep a job?

Am I mobile?

Am I going to be laid off or will someone in my family be laid off for some period of time?

He said the state's job market is still in good shape, much better than it was when the pandemic started, and not as good as it was a year ago, but there are still more job openings than there are applicants.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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