New Jersey’s biggest employers not who they used to be
A USA Today Network analysis of New Jersey's job picture shows some of the major players have changed in recent years — with A&P of Montvale closing its doors, and Amazon zooming into a top spot.
Public Service Electric & Gas has also evolved as a leading employer statewide, the report says.
Rutgers economist James Hughes tells New Jersey 101.5 we used to be a manufacturing state.
"Now we distribute things — such as (through Amazon and their fulfillment centers and the like. And we consume things, indicated by the growth of Wakefern Foods and the like," Hughes, a senior faculty fellow and professor, said.
Wakefern is owner of ShopRite.
Caesar's Entertainment has dropped from the top-10 employer list, with the shifting sands of Atlantic City.
"Atlantic City (and its casino industry) is still feeling the pain of competition from other states. It's hard to remember back in the good old days when we had a legal monopoly on gambling on the East Coast," Hughes said. "Casinos have opened up in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland and the like, and so Caesars has been one of the victims of that transformation."
But state government remains the top employer.
"Even though it has contracted a bit, it still maintains its status as one of the bigger players within the state," Hughes said.
New Jersey's current unemployment rate is a record low 3.5 percent.
"One of the difficulties now is finding workers that have the appropriate skills to fill the jobs," Hughes said. "And we'd have even have stronger job growth if we had more bodies to fill the open positions. There is a record number of job openings out there ."
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5
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