Should you buy or sell? Spend or save?

Gas prices continue to fall, the stock market continues its upward trend, and consumers are still spending money in New Jersey, but what happens next?

The Garden State’s top economist says that’s a tough question to answer as we continue to receive mixed signals on a number of fronts.

“It’s still a cauldron of uncertainty, the indicators are not aligned with each other, looking ahead our crystal balls are still cloudy,” said James Hughes, an economist at Rutgers University. .

“Of course, a number of measures, a number of indicators are not good, but they are moving in the right direction, for example, inflation fell slightly in the last reading,” he said. .

Is spending money okay right now?

Hughes said consumers are still spending “but they’re shrinking, turning to store brand products rather than designer goods.”

He said lower pump prices are a positive sign for Garden State residents.

“It helps consumer spending, moving from gasoline to goods, food and services, etc.”

He pointed out that while employment remains strong, Jersey’s housing market has cooled and consumers at the lower end of the income scale are still struggling.

Hughes said that with what amounts to a slight improvement in the economy when the Federal Reserve meets next month, they are certainly expected to raise interest rates again.

“It was almost certain that it would be 0.75 points again, but now it could be considered to only make a 0.5% increase,” he said.

He said some think we’re probably still headed for at least a modest recession, but “the more optimistic side continues to point to the strong employment indicators, I think the nation has added more than a half -million jobs unexpectedly in July”.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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