Growing up in Northern New Jersey, it seems like every one of your friends own a house somewhere on the Jersey Shore. Every summer, people from Northern New Jersey and from all over, migrate to Jersey Shore towns for a summer of fun and more importantly, spending on the local businesses in these small towns. With Memorial Day weekend right around the corner, the spending season will be starting off, and hopefully be starting off strong.
The effects of the spending at the Jersey Shore in the summer can be seen on a state-wide basis, as well as on a local basis. In 2015, tourism accounted for $37.3 billion of New Jersey’s total GDP. This number accounts for 6.6% of the entire New Jersey economy. The Jersey Shore accounted for almost half of this spending and income, with an overwhelming majority of Shore spending coming while attractions are open in the summer. Another way that the Jersey Shore factors into the economy is the opportunity for employment. At the shore, they will need lifeguards, waiters, retail workers, boardwalk attendants, and ice cream scoopers, to name a few. More workers are hired than normal in this time due to the increased tourist activity. Many teenagers will occupy these jobs and make their money for the next winter from their summer jobs down the shore.
In 2012, Superstorm Sandy caused devastation to much of the Jersey Shore. In the summer of 2013, many shore towns experienced huge losses in revenues. For example, Toms Rivers’ sales revenue dropped 84% due the ability to only open 1/3 of its beach, while Seaside Heights’ sales revenue fell 28%. A bad summer can spell disaster for local businesses that depend on the summer boom to make money to get by that year. Weather conditions such as cooler temperatures may also impact local businesses. Food vendors want certain weather based on their product. A local ice cream shop owner in Long Branch told the news that, “I mean one 90-degree day in August, I mean we wait for those days.” A cool or hot summer may have an impact on a local business over the course of the summer.
So, this summer while you are at the Jersey Shore for a vacation, remember to think of the local business and their struggle to stay open depending on their summer earnings, while also keeping in mind that your tourism spending is helping the great state of New Jersey increase its GDP. For the sake of the shore businesses, hopefully this summer we see great weather and crowded beaches at the Jersey Shore!