New Jersey residents, restaurant and business owners, and most others were already looking at daunting financial numbers before the pandemic but over the last 20-months, the business climate in the Garden State has moved onto thin ice.

It's been a diet in New Jersey of people or businesses moving out, people having trouble retiring or finding work, the long unemployment benefit situation, labor shortage, Covid mandates and restrictions, and so on and so forth.

It'll be a long road to recovery for the Jersey Shore and New Jersey due to a number of factors.

Addressing the current business and financial climate in New Jersey is one of the priorities for legislators in Monmouth County's 13th District, among others across the state.

"It's a conversation that Gerry (Scharfenberger), Declan (O'Scanlon), and I have been having because the numbers aren't good, small businesses have -- we've lost like a third, it may even be higher -- of small businesses during this pandemic," Monmouth County Assemblywoman Vicky Flynn tells Townsquare Media News. "I think it's fair to say it's because of the lockdowns, because of the shutdowns, so that can't happen again."

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There are two drivers (among others) to the economic climate in New Jersey that are critical to the Shore and State doing well -- small businesses and the tourism industry.

When those two things specifically are impacted in a negative way, it'll be tough sledding across the board.

"New Jersey really does rely on our small businesses to keep our economy moving," Flynn said. "To lose a number like a third, in such a short period of time, is a problem. We have a significant recovery to do."

Flynn said that along with Assemblyman Scharfenberger, they plan on meeting with local businesses in a round-table kind of dialogue and hearing their thoughts and ideas and then help shape a plan to help those businesses by crafting legislation in Trenton.

"We are very focused on all legislation, any legislation -- I'm sure our Democratic counterparts are as well -- to get this state moving again and supporting our small businesses so that they can get back on their feet because they, unfortunately, bore the brunt of the pandemic and the lockdowns," Flynn said. "It's actually awful to see. I think we need to be focused in our legislation, in our leadership -- both the Republicans and the Democrats -- need to be very focused on what do we need to accomplish to get this state back and it really comes down to the economy and the education."

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