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Manufacturing plays vital role in NJ economy

Despite the perception that the manufacturing industry is dead in New Jersey, reality tells a much different story.

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Sean Gallup, Getty Images

A new report from the New Jersey Policy Research Organization Foundation, “Facts for Discussion, Manufacturing in New Jersey,” finds that New Jersey manufacturing is a major economic force, providing well-paying jobs and driving the export of American-made goods.

The Garden State manufacturing sector also stacks up pretty well compared to other states.

“We may be a small state, but we’re very mighty in manufacturing,” said NJPRO Executive Director Sara Bluhm.

In 2013, the state ranked 15th in manufacturing output, producing $45 billion in products, and in 2014, ranked 13th in goods exported, selling more than $32 billion.

Bluhm said there are several major factors that make New Jersey an attractive place to manufacture goods.

“A highly-skilled workforce, the ability to move the goods, the markets we have access to, and the legal protections,” she said.

Bluhm said New Jersey is a leader in protecting intellectual properties, an underrated but important factor for manufacturers.

As of July 2015, New Jersey manufacturers directly employed 247,200 people. The report ranked New Jersey as the fifth best state for compensation with advanced manufacturing employees pulling in an average nearly $100,000 per year.

Bluhm said these are not the assembly line, hourly wage-type manufacturing jobs of the past.

“These are high-paid, six-figure salaries that you can build a career around,” Bluhm said.

Most importantly, more of these jobs are coming back to both the U.S. and the Garden State. Bluhm said that New Jersey is fighting to attract more of these companies to help further solidify the state’s position as a global hub for manufacturing.

“Manufacturing remains a vital part of our economy and it’s economic impact is definitely a big part of our state.”

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