The Cape May County region is considered the 7th most vulnerable region in the entire United States if faced with a Covid-induced recession according to an analysis by the Brookings Institution from March 17, 2020.
Cape May County consistently generates over $6 billion in direct tourism revenue annually. The County also generates well in excess of $500 million in state sales tax and local use taxes annually. This equates to approximately $1.5 million per day. Of such taxes collected in New Jersey, this figure represents over 10% of the statewide total. Tourism-related businesses created 26,572 direct jobs in Cape May County in 2018, the last year for which compiled data is available. Cape May County outpaces all other counties in the following categories:
- Food & Beverage - $1.536 Billion Retail - $1.28 Billion
- Recreation - $771.4 Million
- Second Home Rentals - $2.196 Billion
The average median household income in Cape May County from 2014-18 was $63,690, according to Census data. The income per capita during that time period was just $38,496. With regard to permanent residents, in a county of under 100,000 people, over 23% of the population is directly employed in retail or food service and accommodation. Nearly every sector of Cape May County’s economy is dependent on the tourist season. Cape May County, given its low per capita income and its utter dependence on tourism, stands in a uniquely vulnerable economic position.