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Report offers optimistic take on N.J.'s manufacturing industry

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Contrary to public opinion and personal anecdotes regarding the New Jersey manufacturing hub of yesteryear, the manufacturing industry continues to play a vital role on the state's economy, according to a report by the New Jersey Policy Research Organization Foundation, an affiliate of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association.

Just in time for New Jersey Manufacturing Week, which runs from Monday through Friday, NJPRO Chairman John Rogers stated: “Manufacturing continues to be a strong economic force, providing well-paying jobs and driving exports of American-made goods. What’s more, the health of New Jersey’s manufacturing sector fares pretty well when compared to that of other states’.”

The report offers a close examination of the manufacturing industry of New Jersey in 2015, including the number of manufacturing facilities as broken down by county, a 10-year outlook for manufacturing employment and a breakdown of manufacturers by business type.

According to the report, New Jersey manufacturers directly employed 247,200 individuals as of July 2015.

“The industry has consistently played a vital role in the state’s economy and has further solidified New Jersey’s position as a global hub for manufacturing,” the report states. “It is important to note that when comparing states, one must consider their sizable differences — e.g., economy, square mileage and population — to accurately gauge how well their industries are performing. Considering these factors, New Jersey still outperforms the majority of states and fares well against its competition.”

Even the employee compensation in New Jersey is superlative: According to the report, advanced manufacturing employees make on average nearly $100,000 per year, which ranks New Jersey as the fifth-best state for compensation.

These numbers indicate a great opportunity for the state’s economic revitalization, said NJPRO Executive Director Sara Bluhm

“NJPRO’s ‘Facts for Discussion’ shows that manufacturing needs to be at the center of New Jersey’s economic development strategy for the simple reason that manufacturing has such a big impact on our economy,” she said.

With the report finding that New Jersey ranked 15th in manufacturing output, making $45 billion in products in 2013, and 13th in goods exported, by selling more than $32 billion in 2014, she added:

“New Jersey manufacturers excel through efficiency and expertise. Technological advances, ‘lean’ manufacturing processes and increasingly sophisticated operations are all areas where New Jersey manufacturers as a group excel.”

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