In this final week of 2011, most Jersey businesses are looking forward to the start of New Year…and keeping their fingers crossed for a stronger economic bounce-back in the months ahead. While they’re hopeful about signs of progress, many company CEO’s are hesitant about expanding or hiring new workers.

Phil Kirschner, the President of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, says “they track very closely if there has been a consistent uptick in the demand for their products and services…the problem is they’ll have 2 or 3 good months, then it’ll slide back some, and then another 2 or 3 good months and then it slides back some -you know if we could string together 4, 5, 6 good months in a row, I think that would give confidence to a lot of the business people that they should hire people – because there will be demand for their product in the future.”

He says “the last thing they want to do is hire people and then see that – oh – it was just a blip on the screen and demand has now gone down again.”

Kirschner also points out “business people pay a lot of attention to the broader economy, and things like the unemployment rate are important – they’re also watching to see whether the federal government in particular can get its act together and have both parties come together to help solve some of the nation’s fiscal problems…with what’s going on in Washington now, I don’t think it gives business people or consumers a lot of confidence that these deep-seeded problems are going to be addressed anytime soon – so business people worry that if they don’t address these issues, this nation’s economy will suffer a jolt, our credit will get tight again…they are waiting to see if the two parties can get together for the betterment of the country.”

He says the bottom line is if that does happen, “that would take care of a lot of uncertainty about what the policies are going to look like going forward.”