Facing empty store shelves and rising prices just about everywhere, it's hard for New Jersey residents to feel good about where the economy is headed.

In a poll released Tuesday out of Stockton University, a majority of Garden State adults feel negatively about the state's economy, despite most seeing their own financial status either stay put or improve over the last few months.

"Even though jobs are plentiful and income has not gone down, for most people there's a trepidation out there and people just don't feel the economy is doing that great," said John Froonjian, director of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton.

At 51%, a majority of adults say rising food, housing and fuel costs are making it more difficult to make ends meet, according to the poll.

"The war in Ukraine is certainly going to exacerbate those concerns," Froonjian said.

The statewide poll of 655 adults was conducted from Feb. 16 through Feb. 26, prior to the conflict in Ukraine.

Just 23% of poll respondents give positive marks to the New Jersey economy, and 50% say the state is headed in the wrong direction.

When asked about future economic conditions, 47% said they are somewhat or very pessimistic.

"Even a quarter of those whose overall financial status improved and a third of those whose incomes went up are still pessimistic about the economy," Froonjian said. "Even if you're doing well, there's concern out there."

Most of the individuals polled said they have at least held their ground financially over the past six months. More than half kept spending at the same level or spent more than they did before the omicron surge of COVID-19.

Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com

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