COVID-19 IMPACT ON OFFICE MARKET AND ECONOMY
The impact COVID-19 had on New Jersey’s office market was clear, as record low leasing activity was met with record high negative net absorption, while space available for sublease surpassed 6 million square feet (MSF) for the first time since 2012. As a result of these unusual times, along with brittle macroeconomic conditions, it is no surprise that leasing activity has dipped, as many real estate decisions are patched over with short term leases or delayed all together. Despite the current conditions, some bright spots have emerged. The life science industry remains active, with many firms growing or setting up a significant presence in New Jersey during the fourth quarter. Additionally, the hub and spoke model persisted this quarter, led by Citadel taking 37,150 SF and TD Ameritrade leasing 44,000 SF, both in Jersey City.
Employers added to their payrolls in November for the seventh consecutive month, increasing by 7,100 jobs from October to reach a total of 3.9 million jobs. New Jersey has regained 485,700 jobs since April, or 58% of the jobs lost due to the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the increase in employment, the unemployment rate rose again to 10.2%, as more residents re-entered the labor force to seek employment.