Wildwoods set for positive financial forecast

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Luke Tilley, regional economic adviser with the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, gives his financial forecast for the new year at a meeting of the Greater Wildwood Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 10. 
Luke Tilley, regional economic adviser with the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, gives his financial forecast for the new year at a meeting of the Greater Wildwood Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 10.

 WILDWOOD — Luke Tilley, regional economic adviser with the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, told local business owners and community officials to look forward to a good financial forecast this year.

Cape May County, he said, is set to do better than the national economy.

“The local economy is typically higher than the rest of New Jersey or the United States,” Tilley said during his presentation at the Wildwoods Convention Center on Jan. 10.

The Wildwoods, he said, specifically will likely benefit more than other shore communities because it came through Hurricane Sandy with little damage.

The annual presentation for the Greater Wildwoods Chamber of Commerce is normally made by Jay Ford, the president and CEO of Crest Savings Bank. This year, Ford asked Tilley to share his insight on the area’s financial outlook.

Tilley said that he compiled this year’s presentation by listening to business owners in Cape May County.

“We don’t know whether it’s good or it’s bad but whatever it is, it’s here and we have to be prepared for it,” GWCOC President Joyce Gould said of the financial future.

Chamber Executive Director Tracey Dufault said the annual forecast luncheon is an opportunity for chamber members to learn more about what is going on in the national and local economy from the experts.

Nationally, the economy was experiencing growth, according to Tilley, but only a 2 percent increase.

“No one is forecasting a recession, but we’re not back to where we were, either,” Tilley said.

While consumers were beginning to spend more and more, investment was the slowest thing to grow, he said.

“We’re not seeing real robust growth because we need stronger increases than 2 or 3 percent to break the unemployment rate,” he said.

When it comes to job growth, Tilley said, the local area is still behind the rest of the country. Nationally the unemployment rate is at 7.8 percent, 9.6 percent for New Jersey and 13.1 for Cape May County.

A graph showed that jobs in fields such as construction and manufacturing had dropped the furthest since the recession. The fields with the most growth, Tilley said, are in heath, education and professional services.

But even with those fields growing, Tilley told members of the chamber of commerce, not to expect “normal numbers.”

“By the end of 2015 we still wont’ be at what is considered a normal employment rate,” he said. “What is considered normal is an unemployment rate between 5 and 6 percent.”

Chamber Executive Director Tracey Dufault said the annual forecast luncheon is an opportunity for chamber members to learn more about the economics of the region in an accessible format.

Lauren Suit can be emailed at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or you can comment on this story at shorenewstoday.com.


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