The importance of manufacturing to the state’s economy cannot be overstated. The state ranked 12th nationally with 7,587 manufacturing establishments and has steadily maintained over 7,000 such operations over the last decade. These establishments cover many manufacturing sectors and subsectors, producing a wide variety of products including foods, chemicals, fuels, pharmaceuticals and technological equipment, to name just a few.
The success of manufacturing in New Jersey also results from the number of prestigious colleges and universities and research facilities located in the state, which collaborate and share intellectual resources with the for-profit sector. Collectively, they produce a well-educated, highly specialized and talented labor force. Consequently, New Jersey’s median income for an employee with a bachelor’s degree in industrial and manufacturing development is $91,000, compared to the national median of $81,000. A graduate degree in the same field is worth $137,000 in New Jersey, compared to an average of $101,000 nationally, according to a Georgetown University: Center on Education and the Workforce report titled the “Economic Value of Majors.”
Add to that New Jersey’s strategic geographic location, its proximity to major financial markets, its transportation network, major airports and ports creating an extensive distribution channels and the productivity of New Jersey manufacturers, and it becomes obvious why New Jersey is a key player in the worldwide manufacturing industry, as well as a significant contributor to the state’s economy.
New Jersey’s civic, business and education leaders have long collaborated to create and foster a statewide business climate and public policy that support the manufacturing sector and its competitive position both nationally and internationally. However, there is always more that can and should be done. Ongoing public-private initiatives must continue to further strengthen the environment for the state’s manufacturing sector, to help ensure the industry’s robust future and continued growth – all for the benefit of the state’s economy and of its residents at large.
About NJPRO: The New Jersey Policy Research Organization (NJPRO) Foundation, an independent affiliate of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA), is New Jersey’s leading policy organization conducting innovative, timely and practical research on issues of importance to New Jersey employers.