NJBIA released its 64th annual Business Outlook Survey on Nov. 29. While much of the attention of the 2023 outlook survey focused on lack of business policy to help New Jersey small businesses, there were many other facets of the survey.

Today, we look at deeper at the sales, profits and prices data found in this year’s Business Outlook Survey.

Sales
Actual sales grew for New Jersey businesses in 2022, with 51% claiming an increase – an 8% jump from 2021 and 32% more than the pandemic year of 2020.

Forty-nine percent of businesses projected an increase in sales for 2023. That’s compared to 18% who foresee less sales next year. Overall, that’s a +31% net positive – an improvement from the last two years, but still well below pre-pandemic projections for sales.

Profits
From 2012 to 2019, more New Jersey businesses reported gains than reported losses in this survey.

That all changed during the pandemic year of 2020 and the climb from that hole continues.

This year, 37% of respondents reported profits for the year, while 41% reported a loss – exemplifying NJBIA’s regular mantra to Trenton that “every dollar counts” when informing lawmakers on policy.

Businesses’ outlook for profits also continues to be lukewarm. In 2023, only 37% believe they will make a profit, compared to 24% who think they will lose money.

That net positive of 13% continues a similar low outlook for profits over the past two years.

Purchases and Prices
Not surprisingly, there were price increases for primary products and services of many New Jersey businesses to offset the historic increases in inflation in 2022.

A total of 71% said prices for their products and/or services increased in 2022 (17% increased substantially, 54% increased modestly). Only 1% said they had decreased prices this year.

Regarding future purchasing plans, 45% are expecting to increase the dollar value of their purchases in 2023 and 16% are anticipating a decline. That’s a net positive of +29%, or 3 percentage points higher than the outlook for 2022.

In 2022, 55% of businesses said they made investments in productivity. That’s a slight increase from 54% in 2021 and 50% in 2020, but still off the mark from the pre-pandemic years of 2019 (62%), 2018 (61%) and 2017 (60%).