While the New Jersey economy continues to gain steam, the pace of its recovery lags behind the rest of the country, according to an analysis released Wednesday by Rutgers University.
While the country is expected to reach prerecession employment levels by mid-2014, Rutgers forecasts that New Jersey won't reach that stage until late 2017.
The state is set to add more than 58,000 nonfarm jobs this year, a 1.5 percent growth rate, up from the 49,100 jobs added last year at a 1.3 percent rate.
Those jobs include ones in manufacturing, retail, services, and construction sectors, among others.
Since September 2010, the Garden State has recovered just over half its jobs lost during the recession, while the national economy regained 83 percent of jobs lost over that same time period.
"The state's economic outlook is improving in some respects, but generally, it trails the nation's," said Nancy H. Mantell, director of the Rutgers Economic Advisory Service, which produced the forecast.
Employment in New Jersey is expected to grow by 0.8 percent in 2014 and 0.7 percent through 2033.
By then, Rutgers forecasts the United States will add 18 percent more jobs than it had in January 2008, while New Jersey's employment will expand by 12 percent.
James W. Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers, said the state was slow to bounce back from the recession but closely tracked the national economy in 2012 and the first half of 2013.
"We may not match the nation, but we're not that far behind," he said.
The state's economy will grow at an average rate of 2.2 percent per year through 2033, about 15 percent slower than the national rate, Mantell said.
High costs of living and doing business in New Jersey, fewer working-age people, and a shift to the service economy help explain that disparity, she said.
While the state's 8.4 percent unemployment rate has dropped a full percentage point since 2012, Mantell attributed much of that decline to a decrease in the number of people looking for jobs.
The state unemployment rate still remains well above the national rate of 7 percent.
- Andrew Seidman