New Jersey earned its nickname, the Garden State, thanks toa climate and soil that made it one of America’s
At the same time, its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and majornortheastern cities like New York, Philadelphia, and Boston—along with its numerous harbors and iron mines—made NewJersey
a major center of the Industrial Revolution.
Thomas Edison developed over 1,000 patented inventions athis Menlo Park lab. Princeton University in Mercer County haslong been one of the most prestigious colleges in the world.Famous Fortune 500 companies like Campbell’s Soup chose toset up their headquarters in New Jersey, with our capital cityboasting, “Trenton Makes—The World Takes.”
Few states have been blessed with this kind of geographicaland industrial diversity
, and for over two hundred years, NewJersey made the most of it, enjoying high levels of prosperity.That is, until fairly recently.
Take just one example:In 2012, the Mayor of Nutley, New Jersey was “stunned” tolearn that his town’s biggest employer, Hoffmann-La Roche,was closing down its plant and moving most of its operationsoverseas.
The loss of 1,000 jobs
was especially shocking because,as Mayor Petracco noted, Nutley had been home to thepharmaceuticals giant “since the early 1900s.”Those 1,000 jobs are just the beginning. Small businessesrelied on those workers for their livelihoods. From restaurants,to dry cleaners, to the local mom and pop shops, the loss ofthese workers will be felt by everyone in the community.However, the story of Hoffmann-La Roche has been repeatedagain and again in New Jersey’s recent past, when shakeups
left thousands without work, or forced them to relocate out ofstate.In fact,
in almost every major sector, long time New Jerseyemployers are padlocking their doors
unemployed, putting smaller local businesses in jeopardy andplacing increased pressure on the state’s shrinking tax base.Why is this happening now?Let’s look at four universally acknowledged measurements ofeconomic growth and well-being—
GDP, population growth, jobs and wages, and tax rates
—and see how New Jersey stacksup.