Jersey Makes, The World Takes. New Jersey’s history is rooted in manufacturing products, everything from food to chemical production in Northern New Jersey, to glass manufacturing in Southern New Jersey. Manufacturing processes have become much more high-tech and workers are increasingly likely to spend their days monitoring a computerized control center instead of manually operating cumbersome tools or machines. But like everywhere else, New Jersey’s economy is becoming much more dependent on services and information technology, rather than goods manufacturing, much of which is moving overseas. Manufacturing will continue to decline, but certain jobs have great potential, particularly those involving science and technology and those that specialize in the creation of unique or hard-to-ship products. If you enjoy making sophisticated gadgets, for instance, you may have a career in the manufacturing sector.
ADVANCED MANUFACTURING UPDATE*
- The advanced manufacturing industry contributed over $17 billion to New Jersey's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2009, or about 3.6 percent of all state output.
- Advanced manufacturing employment is primarily comprised of four industry groups: chemical manufacturing (45%), computer and electronic product manufacturing (22%), machinery manufacturing (11%), and transportation equipment manufacturing (3%). The remaining 19 percent is made up of selected detailed industries.
- In 2009, there were more than 127,000 people employed in industries classified as advanced manufacturing in New Jersey. This represents about 48 percent of all manufacturing employment in New Jersey.
- Chemical manufacturing employed over 57,000 in 2009, 21.0 percent of all manufacturing workers in the state. New Jersey also hosts over seven percent of all chemical manufacturing employment in the United States.
- The state's advanced manufacturing industry establishments paid a total of more than $11.6 billion in wages in 2009, or roughly 6.8 percent of New Jersey's total wages.
*Source: NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Labor Planning & Analysis, New Jersey Key Industry Clusters (7/20/11) and New Jersey Labor Market Views (9/22/11).
Jobs within this industry are separated into four career paths:
- Labor and Skilled Trade Work, which includes machinists, production laborers, stationary engineers, glass cutters and trimmers, glass grinding and polishing workers, instrument and electronic technicians, and team assemblers
- Science and Technology Application, which includes such occupations as chemists, inspectors, food safety specialists, plant and system operators, and industrial health and safety engineers
- Management and Supervision, which includes first-line supervisors and production managers
- Sales and Relationship Management, which includes sales representatives.
Employers are looking for workers with the following:
- good language and literacy skills
- good computer skills
- the ability to adapt to new technologies
- excellent occupational safety skills
- an understanding of the regulations and rules governing the industry