Industry Sector Focus
This page contains analysis of New Jersey's key industry sectors. Industry sectors are the engines that drive job expansion and attract new businesses in New Jersey. Analysis of New Jersey's industry sectors is provided below to help keep New Jersey's industry sectors in focus. New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development's team of labor market analysts produces the analytical articles, reports, and presentations on this page using the latest economic and demographic data available.
The vitality of the biopharmaceutical and life-sciences cluster in New Jersey is fundamental to the state's economic health with its well-paying jobs.
- New Jersey's bio/pharma life sciences employment totaled 76,510 in 2020, or 2.4 percent of the state's private-sector workforce. Nationally, the proportion was just 1.3 percent.
- Establishments totaled nearly 1,700 in 2020. Despite recent reorganizations by pharmaceutical firms, the drug and pharmaceutical component’s establishment count increased between 2015 and 2020 by 19.9 percent.
The construction and utilities sector provides many employment opportunities for blue collar workers to earn above average salaries.
- In 2020, New Jersey’s construction industry averaged 151,600 in total employment, a decrease of 9,880 (-9.3%) jobs from 2019. The average annual wage for construction workers in 2020 was $77,900.
- Over the past five years (2016 to 2020), the utility industry has seen an increase in its annual average earnings from $118,627 to $130,323 (+8.9%).
New Jersey's close proximity to New York City, highly competitive corporate real estate rates and an unmatched talent pool make New Jersey a prime location for financial services firms.
- Despite a relatively small employment base (6.8% of New Jersey’s total private sector employment in 2020) finance and insurance contributed almost $32 billion or roughly 6.6 percent to the state’s Real Gross Domestic Product in 2020.
- New Jersey’s finance industry sector employs more than 218,000 workers in the state with an annual average wage of almost $138,000.
The overall health, both of New Jersey's economy and its people, is clearly tied to the capabilities of the evolving health care industry.
- The health care sector contributed over $44 billion to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2020, roughly 8.2 percent of all output (latest available from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis).
- From 1990 through 2019, the health care Sector has added 234,200 new jobs, while all other private Sector employment has had a net increase of 211,400 jobs.
- After 19 years of steady gains the health care industry experienced a modest loss of 21,700 jobs in 2020 due to the COVID-19 shutdown.
New Jersey has a well-earned reputation as a place for great entertainment, vacations and restaurants which is why the Leisure & Hospitality industry continues to thrive throughout the state.
- Leisure & hospitality jobholding totaled 281,783 in 2020, or 8.8 percent of the state’s private sector workers, a lower percentage than for the nation (10.9%).
- L&H represented nearly $12 billion or 2.5 percent of the state’s real Gross Domestic Product in 2020 while the U.S. had a 3.3 percent representation in its GDP.
- New Jersey L&H employers paid over $8 billion in total wages during 2020, or 3.4 percent of the state total. In addition, the same businesses accounted for 8.9 percent of all units in the statewide total private sector in 2020 (8.7% for US).
The manufacturing sector in New Jersey hosts a wide range of processes and products from food and printing to petroleum and pharmaceuticals.
- In 2020, there were nearly 236,000 people employed in industries classified as manufacturing in New Jersey, roughly 7 percent of all New Jersey employment.
- The manufacturing sector contributed $54 billion to New Jersey’s Real Gross Domestic Product in 2019, or about 10.1 percent of all state output (latest available from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis).
- Manufacturing employers paid more than $20 billion in total wages in 2020, with many industries paying more than the statewide average annual wage of $74,000.
Along with other service sectors such as the hospitality industry, retail is a critical point of entry, or “gateway,” into the labor force and provides workers with foundational skills in customer service, punctuality and responsibility.
- Retail trade jobholding totaled 405,786 in 2020, or 12.7 percent of the state’s private sector workers, a higher percentage than for the nation (12.5%).
- Retail represented nearly $34.1 billion or 7.1 percent of the state’s real Gross Domestic Product in 2020 while the U.S. had a slightly lower (6.7%) GDP representation.
- New Jersey retailers paid over $16.2 billion in total wages during 2020, or 6.8 percent of the state total. In addition, retail businesses accounted for 10.7 percent of all units in the statewide total private sector in 2020 (10.2% for US).
Industries in the technology cluster have a high proportion of scientists, engineers and technicians. They are primarily located in the utilities, manufacturing, information and professional, scientific and technical services industries.
- In 2020, New Jersey’s technology Sector accounted for 184,395 jobs, or 5.8 percent of private Sector employment statewide. Nationally the Sector was responsible for 5.8 percent of all private Sector employment.
- The annual average wage for the technology Sector was $146,123 in 2020, or 197.2 percent of the statewide average ($74,084) for all industries. Employers in the industry paid more than $26.9 billion in wages, or about 11.3 percent of the total wages paid in all industries.
- Technology Sector employment can primarily be found within the following sectors: professional, scientific and technical services (76.6%), and information (23.4%).
The real estate ideal of "location, location, location" aptly describes New Jersey's transportation, logistics and distribution industry.
- In 2020, transportation, distribution and logistics (TDL) average employment totaled 401,005 workers in New Jersey; or 12.5 percent of the state’s private sector workers, a higher percentage than for the nation (9.5%).
- The state’s TDL employers in 2020 paid nearly $30.2 billion in total wages, 7 percent of all wages paid in the state.
- New Jersey’s TDL contributed $62.5 billion to the state’s Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2020, the sixth highest dollar amount per state nationwide. The Journal of Commerce has noted that one-third of the nation’s GDP is produced within 250 miles of the Port of New York and New Jersey.
- New Jersey offers access to approximately 39,000 miles of public roadways, 950 miles of the nation’s freight rail network and NJ Transit system (rail, light rail, bus and paratransit services) that’s been able to carry over 900,000 passengers each day.
- The State is also home to many key transportation facilities necessary for a strong TDL industry cluster including several top ranking seaports and two international airports.
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