The New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants’ recent survey of its members finds that 44% expect New Jersey’s economy to worsen in the last half of 2023, while an equal percentage think it will remain unchanged. Only 12% believe it will improve.
The results of this NJCPA survey of 434 certified public accountants conducted in June shows a more positive outlook than an earlier NJCPA survey done last summer when nearly 65% of CPAs predicted the economy would worsen and 28% said the economy would remain the same. Only 7% of the CPAs surveyed in June 2022 thought the economy would improve.
Inflation and the ability to find skilled personnel are two of the biggest challenges facing survey participants this year, at 66% and 53%, respectively, followed by state and federal policies that are unfriendly to businesses (40%) and rising interest rates (39%).
Last year, the survey showed similar top concerns, but inflation at that time was a heavier worry at 73%, followed by the availability of skilled personnel at 57%.
“Surveys like this one are a good way to gauge sentiment in all facets of society. It’s not surprising that inflation was more of a concern last year,” said Roosevelt D. Bowman, a senior investment strategist with Bernstein Private Wealth Management, the survey sponsor.
“As strategic advisors to their clients and organizations, CPAs are good sounding boards about the business environment,” said Aiysha (AJ) Johnson, CEO and executive director of the NJCPA. “Our members always have a great read on what’s important for growth and sustaining business operations.”
On a broader scale, respondents this year were also more positive about the national economy. A higher majority (47%) believed the U.S. economy would stay the same during the second half of the year and 37% said it would worsen, while last year only 23% said it would stay the same and 69% said it would worsen.
Going forward, respondents said the most helpful steps government could take to improve business conditions include implementing measures to ease inflation (73%) and reducing burdensome regulations (66%). Respondents recommended addressing the needs of small business, lessening the tax burdens of individuals, cutting government spending, reducing the pension burden and incentivizing people to work.
Among other New Jersey specific findings in the 2023 survey:
- 67% of CPAs surveyed said they had advised an individual client to relocate out of New Jersey due to the high cost of living in the state. The remaining 33% said they had not.
- 51% of CPAs said they had advised a New Jersey business client to relocate to another state because of the high cost of doing business in New Jersey. The remaining 49% said they had not.
- 65% of CPAs said they are seeing fewer high-income clients with New Jersey residency. Another 28% said they were unsure and 7% of CPAs said they experienced an increase in high-income clients.