The Garden State economy is continuing its upward trajectory, with indicators pointing in the right direction from Wall Street rating service Moody’s, the U.S. Commerce Department, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
New Jersey has also now earned a spot in the top half of CNBC’s 2023 America’s Top States for Business rankings, moving up in 70% of the categories and jumping 23 places to 19th overall in the country.
For the first time in two decades, N.J. last year saw its credit rating increased by Moody’s in April, according to reports at the time. Now, the state just got another bump, as well as additional consecutive increases by Fitch and S&P.
Moody’s Investors Service, S&P and Fitch ratings determine the creditworthiness of companies, state governments and even entire countries. Moody’s charges fees to most entities they rate and offer potential investors and lenders deep insight about current financials, future potential, and default risk.
N.J. now has a credit rating of A1 from Moody’s, up from A2; A from S&P, up from A−; and A+ from Fitch, up from A, per the state. This is the N.J.’s fifth rating upgrade in just over a year. The state’s rating history includes consecutive downgrades from 2011-2020.
“We’ve worked hard since day one to change the narrative in Trenton from one of financial distress to one of fiscal responsibility and that work shows in these upgrades,” said Gov. Phil Murphy.
“By making the full pension payment for the third year in a row and dedicating more money to reducing our debt, we have signaled that the days of ignoring our long-term commitments in favor of short-term benefits are over,” Murphy added.
The Garden State has one of the strongest housing markets in the nation, with prices up 8.3% in 2022, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
The state’s economy expanded by 2.6% last year, the 13th best nationwide, according to U.S. Commerce Department figures.
The state’s new, $54.3 billion state budget, signed June 30, includes an $8.3 billion surplus.
“When we talk about fiscal responsibility, it’s not just lip service, it’s something we constantly strive for,” said N.J. Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio.