PINELANDS COMMISSION RELEASES 2003 ECONOMIC DATA

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PINELANDS COMMISSION RELEASES 2003 ECONOMIC DATA

Date: November 7, 2003
From: http://www.state.nj.us/pinelands/

ANNUAL REPORT ON CD-ROM TRACKS ECONOMIC
HEALTH OF PINELANDS COMMUNITIES

New Lisbon - At the monthly meeting of the New Jersey Pinelands
Commission, Executive Director John C. Stokes today released the
Seventh Annual Report of the Pinelands Long-Term Economic Monitoring
Program. A cooperative project administered by the Pinelands
Commission and funded by the U.S. Department of the Interior National
Park Service , the program monitors, collects and analyzes data to
gauge the economic health of the Pinelands region over time. This
year's report is available free-of-charge to the public in CD-ROM
format and on the Commission's Internet website at
http://www.nj.gov/pinelands/reports.htm. An executive summary is
available in paper form.

- The Commission's long-term economic monitoring program is an
important component of the Commission's efforts to better
understand the effects of Pinelands programs on local communities
and the regional economy, Stokes said. "This report gives us the
data we need to monitor the economic health of the region and
develop tools to identify and address challenges and
opportunities." Data collected in 2003 reveals some key findings
about the Pinelands economy:*

- Following a decline in 2001, the average number of building permits
issued in Pinelands communities in 2002 increased by 17%;

- Regarding home sales, the inflation-adjusted median home price rose
by 8.4% in the Pinelands to $122,500, the first significant
increase in 14 years. This compares to an increase of 6.6% to
$129,200 for a non-Pinelands home. The Pinelands share of the
state's total real estate transactions increased steadily from 8.2%
in 1999 to 9.4% in 2002;

- An analysis of block-level census data revealed that approximately
276,890 people live inside of the Pinelands boundary, while 412,560
people live in areas of Pinelands municipalities that lie outside
of the Pinelands boundary;

- The population density of the Pinelands municipalities was 304
people per square mile, compared to 1,046 people for the non-
Pinelands region;

- The unemployment rate rose from 4.7% in 2001 to 5.3% in 2002, but
is still lower than areas outside of the Pinelands. Unemployment
rose from 4.5% to 6.0% in the non-Pinelands region and from 4.2% to
5.8% for the state as a whole;

- The average inflation-adjusted 2002 property tax bill in the
Pinelands was $3,010. This is $500 lower than the non-Pinelands
region and $1,740 lower than the state average.

The 2003 Economic Report includes an enhanced version of the
Municipal Fact Book, which was first introduced in the 2002 Report.
The Municipal Fact Book provides data on the unique economic
characteristics of 52 Pinelands Area municipalities. Additionally,
data for each Pinelands municipality is ranked and averages are
compared using data from 202 South Jersey municipalities. This year's
Municipal Fact Book features the addition of population graphs and
color maps showing aggregates of Pinelands Management Areas and State
Planning Areas outside of the Pinelands, as well as other new data.

Also new this year, the Commission added four supplemental variables,
including population density, Census of Housing data, place of
residence and work data as well as data on municipal services such as
police protection and garbage collection. These supplement data on
core variables in areas such as retail sales, income, real estate
sales, employment, property taxes, property values, and agricultural
production and sales.

- - -

* PLEASE NOTE: "Pinelands" is defined as the entirety of any
municipality that has at least 10 percent of its land area within the
boundary of the State-designated Pinelands Area. "Non-Pinelands" is
all other municipalities within the eight southernmost counties of New
Jersey.

Contact Francis Rapa
New Jersey Pinelands Commission
Phone: 609-894-7300
Email: info@njpines.state.nj.us