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The List: More than Mail, ZIP Code Used to Track NJ's Top 10 Payrolls

Businesses use Census data to plan sale and advertising, judge market potential

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The U.S. Census Bureau annually issues a ZIP Code Business Patterns report as a way to track economic activity in smaller geographic areas and analyze changes over time. Businesses use the data to assess market potential, measure sales and advertising, and develop budgets. Governments use it for planning purposes.

Released earlier this year, the reports gives the number of businesses, total annual payroll, the number of people employed as of mid-March, and the payroll for the first quarter of the year.

These are the ZIP codes that had the largest total payrolls for 2012:

1. 07054, Parsippany: $4.93 billion

By far the largest employer in the state, this geographically large ZIP code in Morris County is bisected by Routes 80 and 287. Route 46 crosses it horizontally, and it also includes sections of Routes 280 and 202. Its $4.93 billion total payroll is more than $1 billion greater than the number two ZIP. It also had by far the largest number of employees as of mid-March: 59,571. It did not, however, have the most businesses, but ranked sixth in the state, with 1,837. The largest sector, with 371 establishments, was professional, scientific and technical services, including lawyers, accountants and custom computer programming.

2. 08540, Princeton: $3.72 billion

Routes 1, 206 and 27 all run through this Mercer County ZIP code that extends beyond the town's borders. It had the second-largest annual payroll and the second-largest number of businesses -- 2,122, about 300 more than Parsippany. It had the third-largest number of employees in mid-March: 45,275. Professional services was also the largest sector here, with health and social assistance the second-largest industry.

3. 08807, Bridgewater: $3 billion

This Somerset County ZIP is also a hub, with Routes 287, 202, 206, and 22 all running through it. The annual payroll for its 1,322 establishments fell just shy of $3 billion. Bridgewater had the eighth-largest workforce, with 34,371 employees in mid-March. Home of the Bridgewater Mall, retail trade was its second-largest industry, after professional services, with 227 establishments.

4. 07302, Jersey City: $2.69 billion

This is the revitalized downtown of the state's second-largest city, located across the Hudson River from the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan. Its 1,096 businesses had a total annual payroll of $2.69 billion. In mid-March, it employed 25,765. Hotels and food services was the second-largest industry, behind professional services, driven by 118 restaurants and bars.

5. 07960, Morristown: $2.5 billion

Branching out beyond the town's borders, this ZIP in Morris County had the fifth-largest payroll, as well as the tenth-largest number of businesses (1,611) and workforce (32,200). Its second largest industry was health care and social assistance, with 274 establishments.

6. 08854, Piscataway: $2.36 billion

Home to Routes 287 and 18, this ZIP code essentially mirrors the boundaries of this Middlesex County township. It had 1,710 establishments with a total of 30,801 employees. Wholesale trade was its second-largest industry, after professional services, with 124 establishments. Drug wholesalers was the biggest wholesale subcategory.

7. 07310, Jersey City: $2.35 billion

The second ZIP code in this Hudson County city is also downtown, just north of 07302 and bordering Hoboken. It includes the area known as Newport across from the Canal Street area in lower Manhattan. It had only 509 businesses, the smallest of any ZIP code in the top 10. Its 19,490 workers were the best paid on this list, with an average first quarterly salary of $42,493. It's the first ZIP code on the list where professional services was not the leading industry; it was second. Instead, retail trade was tops, with 117 businesses, a plurality of them --15 -- shoe stores.

8. 07102, Newark: $2.34 billion

This is the only appearance of a section of the state's largest city in the top 10. It is the heart of commercial Newark, including the city's large office buildings, Penn Station, the Prudential Center, and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. The ZIP code's 1,189 businesses had a total of 29,563 employees in mid-March. Retail trade establishments were second to professional services firms.

9. 08054, Mount Laurel: $2.32 billion

Both the New Jersey Turnpike and Route 295 run through the only South Jersey ZIP code in the top 10. There were 1,393 establishments with 36,833 workers, the sixth-largest number in the state. It had the lowest average quarterly salary of those on the list, $16,644. Finance and insurance was the second-largest industry, with 162 firms.

10. 07936, East Hanover: $2.27 billion

Route 280 is the northern boundary and Route 10 cuts across the southern half of this Morris County ZIP code. Its 710 businesses had a workforce of 20,369 in mid-March. This is only the second ZIP code on this list where professional services was not the top industry. Retail trade was bigger, with 114 businesses.

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