Local and state business leaders were not surprised to see Jersey City rank sixth in the nation in U-Haul’s recent Top U.S. Growth Cities Report for 2012, up from 29th in 2011.
“I’m glad to see third-party data that confirms what we’ve all known anecdotally,” said Maria Nieves, president and CEO of the Hudson County Chamber of Commerce. “Jersey City is a more affordable option to New York City and is the 12th largest downtown in America. I’m glad the city is getting recognition for the work it has done in terms of redevelopment over the past 20 years.”
The report was compiled from more than 1.6 million U-Haul one-way truck transactions occurring during a 12-month period. Growth cities are determined by calculating the percentage of inbound moves vs. outbound moves for each area.
Among cities with more than 5,000 families moving, Pittsburgh took the top spot with the highest percentage of growth, at 9.04 percent. Jersey City’s growth was 5.16 percent.
Nieves said that young people who have no interest in suburban life and retiring baby boomers who are downsizing have taken up residence in Jersey City in recent years. It’s also popular with immigrants.
“Jersey City and Hudson County have always been gateway communities for those types of folks,” Nieves said.
Scott Goldstein, communications manager for the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, is not surprised by the influx of people to New Jersey as a whole, pointing to the Garden State’s average household income of more than $67,458, the third highest in the country, and job gains in 2012.
“Meanwhile, Forbes ranked New Jersey number five among all states in quality of life. We have exceptional public schools, 130 miles of beaches, a diverse population, and we are located between two of the best cities in the world, New York City and Philadelphia. And with all due respect to New York City, we have the best pizza in the world,” Goldstein said.
Tracye McDaniel, CEO of Choose New Jersey, said that with economic growth a top priority in New Jersey, there's a renewed sense of confidence that New Jersey is a good place to start or grow a business.
“A bipartisan Red Tape Commission is cutting through bureaucracy and making it easier for businesses to flourish,” she said. “In addition, lower taxes are making it easier to establish and grow a business and create jobs.”