Focus NJ’s 2020 Economic Review Details Devastation of NJ Economy by COVID-19 Pandemic

TRENTON, NJ (SBN) — The pandemic in 2020 led New Jersey’s economy to record high unemployment rates and unemployment claims, as well as a historic contraction in the state’s Gross Domestic Product, followed by a quick rebound.

That’s the results of a 2020 economic study by NJ Focus, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research foundation launched by the New Jersey Business & Industry Association in February 2020.

Among highlights of the report:

  • Small business revenue in New Jersey decreased by 35.8% from January 2020 to year’s end 
  • Unemployment among Black workers increased to over 18% in Q2 of 2020, compared to 7% in Q1 of 2020 
  • More than 3 in 10 of New Jersey small businesses closed temporarily or permanently.

NJ Focus executive director Nicole Sandelier discussed the details of the study with SBN correspondent Steve Lubetkin in this audio interview.


About the Author

Steve Lubetkin
Steve Lubetkin is the news director for Steve’s journalism background includes print and broadcast reporting for NJ news organizations. In May 2019, he began anchoring and reporting for the new weekly podcast, "The CRE News Hour," a news and features program focusing on the commercial real estate industry. From 2014 to 2019 he was New Jersey and Philadelphia editor for and filled in covering Chicago/Midwest and Atlanta. He has won numerous awards for his audio and video news reporting from the Garden State Journalists Association, and he has also been recognized for video by the New Jersey Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has produced audio podcasts on CRE topics for the NAR Commercial Division and the CCIM Institute. Steve has also served (from August 2017 to March 2018) as national broadcast news correspondent for, a news website focused on practical advice for senior executives in small- and medium-sized companies. Steve also reports on-camera and covers conferences for, a public policy news coverage website focused on New Jersey government and industry; and for clients of, a division of The Lubetkin Media Companies LLC. In March 2021, he was elected to the board of directors of the New Jersey Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Steve has been the computer columnist for the Jewish Community Voice of Southern New Jersey, since 1996. Steve is co-author, with Toronto-based podcasting pioneer Donna Papacosta, of the book, The Business of Podcasting: How to Take Your Podcasting Passion from the Personal to the Professional. You can email Steve at