SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
TRENTON — Nearly 200 of the area’s business owners and state workers came to the Mayor’s Economic Summit yesterday at the Trenton Marriott to learn about the city’s economic state, its economic future, and how it can reach its fullest potential.
What they got at the all-day event included numbers brought in by guest speaker Dede Myers, vice president of the Community Development Studies and Education department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Myers noted that the nation’s gross domestic product is climbing again and will translate to a 3 percent increase in New Jersey’s GDP by the end of 2011.
She also said Trenton’s unemployment rate, at 13.8 percent, is still higher than the national average, but she predicted the city, and New Jersey as a whole, will be “right in the middle” of a slow but steadily increasing private-sector employment rate this year.
However, Myers said New Jersey real estate prices dipped recently, settling at 2005 levels, and she said a large and growing number of foreclosures is plaguing the area.
Attendees at the summit also got a crash course in Mayor Tony Mack’s vision for economic development that was primarily focused on revitalizing the downtown area. The mayor said the city could get a boost in business activity by employing a “back to basics” approach — making sure Trenton is clean, green and safe — and listening to the suggestions of local business owners.