Back in the day, lots of New Jersey residents worked in big manufacturing plants and automobile assembly lines.

That’s no longer the case, but you might be surprised to learn lots of things are still made here, and manufacturing is considered an important part of the Garden State economy

According to John Kennedy, the CEO of the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, Manufacturing Day will be marked on Friday, Oct. 5.

“It’s a coming together, a celebration of manufacturing, and we get excited about it,” he said “Manufacturing remains a key, critical aspect of what we do here, if you include food and life sciences, which we do, there’s 11,130 manufacturers in the state.”

Kennedy said these companies employ “378,000 people and the average wage for a New Jersey manufacturing employee is about $90,000. We bill out a manufacturing output of about $50 billion (annually) which is quite a chunk.”

He said New Jersey's "what you call a supply chain state" — meaning a lot of what's created here winds up not as consumer end-products, but as components for other equipment.

Kennedy said New Jersey has a number of different chemical plants, and a big role in electronics, fabricated medical products and machinery.

He also pointed out many companies produce items made of plastics and rubber “and simply things like food."

"Food is very regional but we have some tremendous food companies, about 1,100of them,” Kennedy said.

New Jersey continues to lead the way in life sciences and production of medical devices, he said, with about 3,000 companies in that sector.


You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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