James W. Hughes, the former dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy of Rutgers University, said the state’s decision to turn to borrowing made sense at the time.
“It’s so overused, but whatever the term is — unprecedented, uncharted waters — five, six months ago that was truly the case,” Mr. Hughes said.
“In the summer we still weren’t sure the scale of layoffs that could have occurred if we followed a conventional recession,” he added.
During the peak of the pandemic, when most businesses were shuttered in an effort to slow the spread of the virus, 831,000 residents lost jobs. That was twice the number of jobs gained over the last 10 years, Mr. Hughes noted.