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November 10, 2010

New Jersey is justifiably proud of its scientific heritage, which stretches from Edison's inventions and Sarnoff's visionary work with radio and television to Bell Labs and the breakthroughs in life sciences at Merck, Johnson and Johnson and other companies.

So it should come as no surprise that 4.4 percent of the Garden State's workforce in 2008 was dedicated to science and engineering, ranking it fifth in the U.S., behind Massachusetts and Virginia but slightly ahead of California, Connecticut and Michigan. Overall, 3.75 percent of U.S. workers were involved in science and engineering, according to the National Science Board

What is surprising, however, is that engineers made up only 0.91 percent of the state’s employees, which puts New Jersey in the bottom half of the country. (The average for the U.S. is 1.06 percent.) The state didn't do all that well when it came to science and engineering doctorates, either. Only 0.51 percent of employees held these degrees in 2006, the last year that stats are available. In comparison, the average for the country was 0.48 percent.

Where does New Jersey score high? About 0.56 percent of its workers were Life and Physical Scientists, ranking the Garden State in the top 10. But the highest number of scientists and engineers were computer specialists, with 2.71 percent of the NJ workforce falling into this category, as opposed to 2.08 percent for the country as a whole.

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