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May 8, 2019

A decline in New Jersey’s attractiveness to young adults as a place to live, work and study is continuing, despite attempts to stem the tide. In an update to an earlier study, an education-focused task force of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association estimated that New Jersey was home to 205,824 fewer people between the ages of 18 and 34 in 2017 than in 2007.

That’s a decline of an additional 20,000-plus young residents over the original estimate, which focused on migration trends during the period from 2007 to 2016.

“Outmigration to this extent robs New Jersey of its future workforce, squanders taxpayers’ investment in one of the finest and most expensive K-12 educations in the country, and threatens the state’s reputation for a highly educated workforce,” said NJBIA president and CEO Michele Siekerka.

The outflow trend is most pronounced among college-age adults, and the task force has recommended that government help young people address high college costs and build the skills that are most in demand by employers.

“This update re-emphasizes the challenge to New Jersey’s higher education establishment and to the state as a whole,” said Siekerka said. “Where will New Jersey’s future workforce come from?”

The group’s initial report, titled The Education Equation: Strategies for Retaining and Attracting New Jersey’s Future Workforce, was originally released last year with 13 recommendations to stem outmigration by matching education to private-sector jobs. The update, by the group’s Postsecondary Education Task Force, was issued this week.

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