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Study: Five years after recession, small business climate in N.J. among nation's strongest

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A new study on the state of small business five years after the 2008 financial crisis found New Jersey to be among five states that have made the strongest rebound.

The study, "The State of Small Business Post-Lehman Report" by telecom services company CallFire, looked at a number of indicators measuring marketing and sales activity by region. CallFire's study concluded that the states hardest hit by the housing bubble have made the greatest comebacks: Arizona, New Jersey, California, Florida and Nevada.

CallFire is a text and voice platform that helps businesses reach customers. The study looked at the purchase of small business phone numbers for trackable marketing campaigns used over a variety of ad media — billboards, online ads, newspapers and others.

According to CallFire, the purchase of small-business phone numbers for marketing purposes can be viewed as an economic indicator, showing the extent of marketing and sales activity by region.

According to the analysis, the states making the biggest comebacks include Arizona, New Jersey, California, Washington and Nevada. North Dakota, West Virginia, South Dakota, Iowa and Mississippi were the five worst performers.

"Local phone number purchases serve as a proxy for small-business economic activity, making it easy for us to tell which states are truly bouncing back," said Dinesh Ravishanker, CallFire chief executive. "Small businesses typically purchase phone numbers to track marketing spending and our data shows which states are aiming for high-growth, not maintenance of the status quo."

CallFire mined local phone number data in the continental United States based on the billions of phone calls it processed, primarily serving small businesses, from September 2008 through December 2012.

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