New Jersey Economic Overview
New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the country, and its residents have the second highest per capital personal income, at $54,699. In addition, New Jersey has greatest number of millionaire households in the country and the most scientists and engineers per square mile in the world. The pharmaceutical industry, chemicals, telecommunications, tourism, and food processing are leading players in New Jersey’s economy, which thrives on the state’s proximity to New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., enabling many New Jersey residents to commute to work in other states. New Jersey’s gross state product (GSP) is around $475 billion, making it the 24th largest economy in the world.
During colonial times, New Jersey’s economy was mostly agriculture-based, while a shipping industry developed around its ports. Factories churned out textiles and silk during the Industrial Revolution, and New Jersey’s Thomas Edison developed many of his 1,093 patented inventions in the state. Iron and zinc mines contributed heavily to the economy in the middle and late 1800s, and during the two World Wars, much naval construction was centered in the state. In addition, the development of railroads increased manufacturing, due to the ease with which raw materials and finished products could be transported. Rail travel also enabled tourists to visit resorts on the New Jersey shore.
During the 1920s, New Jersey’s economy flourished, and leisure-time pursuits such as drive-in movies first made their appearance in the state. Even today there are more diners in New Jersey than in any other single place in the world. In the late 1970s, gambling casinos were built in Atlantic City, already known for its scenic boardwalk by the ocean. The service sector, as in many states, grew during the 1990s, adding to the diverse and vibrant New Jersey economy.
The agricultural industry in the state has sales of approximately $987 million a year. New Jersey’s leading agricultural products are those from the greenhouse and nursery sector, specifically roses, chrysanthemums, lilies, and orchids. This sector has annual sales of about $442 million. Dairy products rank second at $34 million, followed closely by horses at $33.7 million. In addition, vegetables such as asparagus, bell peppers, eggplant, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and spinach are grown here, for a combined annual value of roughly $182 million. The leading fruits grown in New Jersey are blueberries, cranberries, apples, and peaches, together generating some $148 million.
BANKING AND FINANCE
About three-quarters of the assets held by New Jersey banks belong to 27 institutions with a combined total of more than $39.8 billion. New Jersey’s financial sector is influenced by that of New York, and after losing around 15,000 jobs due to the recent worldwide economic crisis, the sector now has some 251,000 employees. The banking industry in New Jersey is home to such prominent institutions as Prudential Financial and Lord Abbett & Co., with annual revenues of more than $1.7 billion.
One of the most extensive fiber optic networks in the world is found in New Jersey. The state hosts major telecommunications firms such as Verizon, which employs some 18,000 workers, and IDT. New Jersey Cable Telecommunications Association companies collect more than $52 million in taxes and fees for state and local governments and employ around 10,900 workers. There are 44 newspapers that publish in New Jersey, and 16 television stations and 133 radio stations also serve the state. Broadcasting accounts for some $18.8 million in revenue.
Roughly 161,000 workers are employed in New Jersey’s construction industry—after a drop of 16,000 jobs due to the recent worldwide economic crisis—who earn an average annual salary of $57,500. Nonresidential construction spending totals approximately $13.9 billion yearly, and direct construction spending contributes around $32.5 billion to the GSP. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Stimulus Act is expected to finance hundreds of millions of dollars worth of construction projects, such as highways, bridges, and schools.
There are 1,866 public elementary schools, 398 public high schools, and 132 private high schools in New Jersey. Fifty-two colleges and universities also serve the state. The state spends an average of more than $20,000 per student per year. Almost 90 percent of students in New Jersey graduate high school, the second highest percentage in the nation, and around 85 percent go on to college. Princeton University, more than 250 years old and one of the eight Ivy League universities, has an enrollment of almost 7,570 students and an endowment of $12.6 billion. Rutgers University is the largest in New Jersey, with more than 52,470 students and an endowment of $545 million.
Thanks to inventor Thomas Edison, the first street in the world to have electricity was in Menlo Park, New Jersey. New Jersey gets more than half (53 percent) of its energy from three nuclear power plants at Salem Creek, Hope Creek, and Oyster Creek. The latter is the oldest nuclear power plant in the country still in service. Natural gas supplies another 21 percent of electric power, followed by coal at 20 percent, and petroleum and renewable energy at three percent each. Transportation consumes some 36 percent of the energy produced by the state, making it the largest energy-consuming sector of the state.
In 1896 the first commercially successful projector in the U.S. was produced by inventor Thomas Edison in New Jersey. Today some 2,200 motion picture and sound recording companies operate in the state, with annual revenues of more than $85 million. In addition, the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector accounts for another $874 million. As in many other states, the gaming industry in New Jersey is lucrative. Eleven gaming locations provide jobs for 38,585 workers and contribute $426.8 million annually in state and local taxes.
Newark is one of the centers of the U.S. insurance industry and hosts the headquarters of many large insurance companies. In addition, Chubb Group of Insurance Companies is headquartered in Warren. Approximately 11,100 insurance firms operate in the state, with more than $763 million in annual revenue. Some 61 percent of New Jersey residents have health coverage through their places of employment, around 5 percent are insured privately, 18 percent are on Medicare and Medicaid programs, and the remaining 15.5 percent are uninsured. Residents of New Jersey pay more for automobile insurance than those of any other state except Massachusetts.
New Jersey’s manufacturing sector is robust and diverse, employing more than 275,000 workers in some 9,300 businesses, which produce goods worth $45 billion. The average annual wage in this industry is $57,220. Chemical manufacturing, at $18.9 billion, is the largest contributor. The food-manufacturing sector has more than 700 companies, producing a variety of fruit and vegetable preserves, confectionery products, specialty foods, seafood, and baked goods. One of these food manufacturers, the Campbell Soup Company, established more than 140 years ago, employs about 1,200 workers and ships its products to 120 countries. It has annual revenues of around $8 billion.
MINING AND EXTRACTION
New Jersey’s 74 mining operations account for around $590 million worth of minerals, metals, and fuel. Some 1,590 miners work in the state with an annual salary of about $59,000 and a combined payroll of approximately $90 million. Stone quarrying accounts for around $192 million, while sand, gravel, and clay account for $155 million. The state also boasts rare minerals such as Johnbaumite and Mcgovernite, which have been found in New Jersey's Franklin Mining District and nowhere else in the world.
New Jersey charitable organizations have a combined $75 billion in assets and more than $41 billion in annual income. Around 288,000 employees work in the nonprofit sector, which is about seven percent of the total state workforce. Some 48 percent of the nonprofit organizations have yearly revenues of less than $25,000, with only 11 percent having revenues of more than $1 million. New Jersey’s volunteers put in about 224 million hours of service per year.
Around 11 percent of New Jersey residents work in the retail sector, the largest number of employees per sector in the state after government (14 percent). Approximately $2.6 billion worth is sold by some 49,400 stores, with food and beverage stores accounting for $400 million, followed by motor vehicles and parts dealers at $370 million.
As in many other states, Walmart is a presence in New Jersey, with six supercenters and 46 discount stores. There are approximately 17,000 employees working for Walmart stores in the state, at an average hourly rate of $11.90 for full-time workers. Walmart collects some $131.8 million in state sales tax annually and pays more than $31.2 million in corporate income tax to New Jersey.
New Jersey is home to more than 12,150 Internet technology and computer firms. Some 184,000 professionals in science-related fields work here at an annual combined payroll of about $19 billion. High-tech exports from the state account for $3.7 billion, with computers and peripherals at $771 million, industrial electronics at $721 million, and communications equipment at $714 million.
The biotechnology sector employs roughly 10,000 workers at an annual payroll of $711 million, and three-fifths of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies have operations in New Jersey. About half of the jobs are in the pharmaceuticals niche, followed by scientific research and development services. The state of New Jersey offers financial incentives and technical support in order to attract more biotechnology firms to the state.
New Jersey has more than 35,000 miles worth of interstate highways and roads, and almost half a million trucks transport freight through the state every day. In New Jersey, more than 23,000 firms specialize in transportation and logistics. The Port of New York and New Jersey ranks third in size in the U.S. and handles $190 billion worth of shipping annually. Some 230,000 jobs are supported by this sector.
About 600 million tons of freight worth more than $850 billion are transported through New Jersey each year. Around 830,000 commuters are serviced by New Jersey’s railway network, which links to Amtrak, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), and New York City subways every weekday.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation’s Division of Aeronautics is responsible for the 46 public use airports in the state. Newark Liberty International Airport, the first major airport in the New York area, has more than 24,000 people employed on the premises, at a combined annual payroll of approximately $5.7 billion. Some 35 million passengers travel through the airport annually, as well as 979,000 tons of cargo and 95,000 tons of mail.
TRAVEL AND TOURISM
Tourists who visit New Jersey spend an annual figure of $38.8 billion to see the state’s famous and historical sites. In addition, tourism generates around $7.7 billion in taxes. Roughly 416,000 workers are employed in travel and tourism, at an estimated annual payroll of $17 billion. Atlantic City, also called the Las Vegas of the East, is one of New Jersey’s main draws, with its five-mile long scenic boardwalk lined with entertainment, attractions, boutiques, and restaurants.
Due to New Jersey’s location on the Atlantic coast, there are around 4,000 shipwrecks that attract divers to the state’s waters to hunt for sunken treasure or artifacts. Popular diving sites include the wreckage areas of the SS Delaware, sunk in 1898; Hankins ships from the 1800s; the SSMohawk, sunk in 1935; and the Stolt Dagali, which met its end in 1964. Thousands of certified scuba divers in the state support 28 scuba diving shops and take part in the many diving courses and clubs available, including those for the handicapped.
-World Trade Press