To help foster what could be a manufacturing renaissance in New Jersey — a state with a rich industrial history that dates to colonial days — state lawmakers are launching a new “manufacturing caucus” that will focus specifically on figuring out ways to craft policies that lead to increased productivity and growth for manufacturing.
Reitmeyer reports that the formation of the new caucus, which will involve lawmakers from both the Assembly and Senate, and from both political parties, was announced last week by Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester).
The effort will be led by state Sen. Robert Gordon, whose own background includes working in his family’s yarn mill in Paterson.
Reitmeyer reports that the idea of forming a manufacturing caucus in the Legislature also has strong support from the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA), which has been working on issues like regional competitiveness and workforce development in recent years.
At one point during the past century, half of the state’s total jobs were in manufacturing, as industries like textiles and telecommunications boomed.
And though there’s been a decline since then, manufacturing is still a $38 billion industry in New Jersey, with 8,000 companies employing 250,000 people, according to data compiled by NJBIA.
Productivity in manufacturing in New Jersey has also grown by nearly 4 percent annually in recent years, about 2.5 percentage points higher than nonmanufacturing growth, and more than 70 percent of the state’s manufacturers said in a recent survey that they are on the hunt for new employees.
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