There’s a lot of talk that manufacturing has abandoned New Jersey and that its economic problems can be traced to that fact. While that is in large part true, in 2013 New Jersey employed 243,300 people in manufacturing, which translated into 6.2 percent of the state’s nonfarm workforce, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank.
Nationally, the average state had an 8.8 percent manufacturing workforce, and states in the South and Midwest had the highest percentage of manufacturing workers (Indiana, with 16.8 percent and Wisconsin with 16.3 percent).
Here in New Jersey, the revenue generated from this sector was 8.5 percent of the state Gross Domestic Product, at $45.9 billion. The largest sector within the manufacturing sector is the chemical industry — which includes not just chemicals but also pharmaceuticals. That accounted for 26 percent of the manufacturing jobs in the state.
Our neighboring states tell two different stories. Pennsylvania had 9.8 percent of its jobs in manufacturing. New York had only 5.1 percent.