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Prosperity at Risk

April 21st, 2006 by


  • No state has lost more jobs in the high-tech industry in the past decade than New Jersey, according to an analysis of New Jersey’s competitive position by the Brookings Institution, in partnership with New Jersey Future.
  • New Jersey lost nearly 30,000 (28,083) high-tech jobs between 1995 and 2004.  California, in contrast, gained nearly 50,000 such jobs.  Virginia gained about 10,000.
  • Of additional concern is that jobs being gained in New Jersey pay less on average than jobs lost.  The top 10 job-gaining industries reported 80,783 new jobs between 2001-2004, paying an average weekly wage of $437.12, or $22,730 annually.  In contrast, the 81,798 jobs lost by the top 10 job-losing industries in the same period paid average weekly wages of $698.57, or $36,326 annually.
  • The state’s response cannot be purely economic.  Other challenges that impede New Jersey’s competitiveness and potential for growth include rising housing costs; persistent race, class and place disparities; and unbalanced development patterns.

(Source: The Brookings Institution’s upcoming report Prosperity at Risk)


New Jersey is in an enviable position in many respects, but it’s beginning to lose its competitive edge.

Last year, New Jersey Future asked the Brookings Institution to evaluate New Jersey’s competitive position, in partnership with New York University, Princeton University, Rutgers University and with the support of the William Penn and Henry and Marilyn Taub foundations.  Last fall, preliminary findings were reviewed in a series of meetings with private and public sector leaders at Princeton University, hosted by New Jersey Future.

The final analysis is clear. To sustain its competitiveness, New Jersey must move beyond economic development and address the critical challenges posed by housing affordability, quality urban communities and unequal opportunities.

The Brookings team will present its findings to the Governor’s senior policy staff soon, and to New Jersey Future members and friends on May 2 at the State House.  Included are both short-term and long-range recommendations for ensuring New Jersey achieves genuine and lasting prosperity.

For questions on this issue of Future Facts, contact Tim Evans, research director.

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