Labor

Labor is a primary factor in the creation of goods and services in the U.S. economy. This section covers issues related to employment, productivity, worker education and training and labor organizations.

National Rankings provide data on how New Jersey compares to other states on measures of Labor.

State and Local Reports provide featured analysis of current labor data within New Jersey and its impact on the State’s economy.

International Rankings provide data that puts New Jersey in a global context.


Compared to other states, New Jersey ranks..

15th in Percent of Workforce Earning Less than the Federal Minimum Wage

April 4, 2014. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Current Population Survey, compiled by the on-line publication Governing, New Jersey had 58,000 workers earning less than the federal minimum wage in 2013.  This ranked 10th among the states, with Texas taking the top spot at 177,000 workers below the minimum wage. If we adjust these figures to account for the size of the workforce in each state, New Jersey ranks 16th, with just under 1.5% of employed persons earning below the federal minimum wage.  Using these workforce-adjusted figures, Tennessee takes the top spot with about 2.4% of its workers earning less than the minimum wage.

• 5th in Union Representation

January 23, 2015.  In 2014, 17.2% of workers in New Jersey were represented by a union.  This ranks fifth highest among the states.  The state also ranks 5th in union membership (workers need not be members of a union to be represented by one).  New York led the nation with 25.8% of workers represented by unions.  South Carolina was last with just 3.2% of workers represented.  While union membership and representation rates were down nationally, New Jersey actually increased its rate of union representation from 16.6% in 2013.  Nineteen other states saw increases as well, including traditionally low union representation states such as Texas, Arkansas, and Idaho. 

2nd in Average Earnings per Worker

April 4, 2014. With average earnings of $39,540 per worker, New Jersey ranks second only to Maryland.  This figure is in 2012 inflation-adjusted (real) dollars.  Earnings are the sum of wages, salaries, and self-employment income.  They do not include transfer payments from government, rental income, pensions, dividends, alimony, and other types of "unearned" income.

• 9th Highest Unemployment Rate 

March 28, 2014. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, New Jersey’s unemployment rate fell to 7.1% in February, 2014.  While the state continues to have one of the highest unemplyment rates in the nation, it represents strong improvement from 9.6% at the end of 2012.

•  10th Highest Underemployment Rate

January 31, 2014.  Underemployment in New Jersey has also been slow to improve in the state coming out of the "Great Recession." The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks several different measures of underemployment.  Their "U-5" measure tracks unemployed, plus marginally attached workers, plus discouraged workers.  Their "U-6" measure tracks unemployed, plus marginally attached workers, plus people employed part-time for economic reasons.  Averaged over all of 2013, New Jersey ranked 10th highest among the states on both the U-5 and U-6 measure.

4th in Average Salary for Tech Workers

May 13, 2013.  In 2012, New Jersey technology industry workers earned an average salary of $105,400 according to the TechAmerica Foundation, an information and telecommunications industry association.  This compares to $93,800 for technology workers nationally.

•  2nd in Number of Service Station Attendants

May, 2013.  With 10,470 service station attendants, New Jersey had more than any state except Texas in 2013.  With full service required at gas stations, New Jersey previously held the number one position for many years.  Among the top 5 states, New Jersey had the lowest annual mean wage for service station attendants in 2013, at $18,880 per year.  Every other state in this group had a mean wage of at least $21,600, with California topping the list at $25,080.

• 6th in Number of Layoffs

In 2011 New Jersey had 251 extended mass layoff events, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, causing 43,842 claims for unemployment insurance. These are graduate changes since 2010 when there were 224 layoff events and 44,875 claims for unemployment insurance.

6th in Annual Mean Wage of Insurance Sales Agents

With an annual mean wage of $73,410, New Jersey has the 6th highest wage for insurance sales agents in 2011 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Rhode Island has the highest with $81,460.

1st in Percent of High Paying Jobs

According to the Economic Policy Institute, New Jersey has the largest share of jobs that earned over 300 percent of poverty wages in 2010 at 25.1 percent. At the same time, 22 percent of jobs in New Jersey paid less than the poverty rate.

4th in the Percent of Workers Earning Less than the Poverty Wage

New Jersey has the 4th highest share of workers making less than poverty-level wages after Hawaii, New York and California. Using a regional price parity index, the Economic Policy Institute, calculates the number of workers earning less than the poverty threshold for a family of four in 2010.

36th in Percent of Workforce in Manufacturing

With 7.4 percent of the New Jersey non-farm workforce in manufacturing, New Jersey ranked 36th in the U.S. in 2008 according to the U.S. Census. Indiana ranks 1st with 17.1 percent and Hawaii ranks last with 2.4 percent.

 

 

International Rankings

• 3rd Internationally for Part-time work

When comparing New Jersey to developed countries, New Jersey has the third highest rate of part-time work with 23.8 percent in 2010. This is significantly higher than the United States rate of 13.5 percent. The Netherlands has the highest rate with 37.1 percent, and Hungary had the lowest with 3.6 percent according to the OECD Factbook 2011. 

• 24th Internationally for Labor force participation rate

When comparing New Jersey to 110 countries in the world, New Jersey has the 23th highest rate of labor force participation with 66.6 percent in 2010. This is higher than the United States rate of 64.7 percent. The average rate of total countries is 60.9 percent according to the ILOSTAT Database 2010.

• 64th Internationally for Underemployment

When comparing New Jersey to 67 countries in the world, New Jersey has the 64th highest rate of underemployment with 15.7 percent in 2010. The average rate of total countries is 3.9 percent. The Ukraine has the lowest rate with 0.2 percent, and Ethiopia had the highest with 21.3 percent according to the ILOSTAT Database 2010.

 29th Internationally for Unemployment

When comparing New Jersey to developed countries, New Jersey has the 29th highest rate of unemployment rate with 9.2 percent in 2011. This is almost same as the United States rate of 9.0 percent. The Norway has the lowest rate with 3.3 percent, and South Africa had the highest with 24.9 percent according to the OECD Factbook 2011.

• 4th Internationally for Employment rate

When comparing New Jersey to developed countries, New Jersey has the third highest rate of employment rate with 75.1 percent in 2010. This is significantly higher than the United States rate of 66.7 percent. Iceland has the highest rate with 78.9 percent, and Turkey had the lowest with 46.3 percent according to the OECD Factbook 2011.

• 27th Internationally for Mean weekly hours

When comparing New Jersey to 54 countries in the world, New Jersey has the 27th highest rate of mean weekly hours with 38.5 hours in 2010. This is almost same as the United States of 38.2 hours. The average rate of total countries is 41 hours according to the ILOSTAT Database 2010.

 


New Jersey Labor Reports

New Jersey Continues Attracting Financial Services Businesses

Since the official end of the national recession (June 2009) financial services employment in the state has averaged approximately 197,000 through August 2012 according to the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development. The industry peaked in 2002 (221,300 annual average jobs), starting its expansion in the late 1990s. However, the industry also continued to be a significant driver of the state’s economy contributing almost $37 billion, or roughly 9.0 percent, to the 2011 Gross State Product.

Location plays an interesting role in the type of financial services activity seen throughout New Jersey. In Hudson County, due to its proximity to the trading exchanges in New York, the subsector with the highest concentration of employment is securities, commodities and other financial investments. Central northern counties contain a high concentration of insurance carriers. For instance, Prudential and Horizon Healthcare Services are located in Essex County and Chartis Claims and MetLife are both located in Morris County. In the southern half of the state, there is far less financial services activity, so with the exception of TD Bank North America’s headquarters in Cherry Hill (Camden County) and Mt. Laurel (Burlington County), small bank branches make up most of the financial services employment in those areas.

 

Additional Labor Reports

Charley Stone, Carl Van Horn and Cliff Zukin, Chasing the American Dream: Recent College Graduates and the Great Recession, John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers, June 2012.

Carl Van Horn, Cliff Zukin, Mark Szeltner and Charley Stone, Left Out. Forgotten? Recent High School Graduates and the Great Recession, John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers, June 2012.

Immigrants’ Rights/International Human Rights Clinic, "All Work and No Pay: Day Laborers, Wage Theft, and Workplace Justice in New Jersey," Center for Social Justice, Seton Hall University School of Law, January 2011. 

Jorgensen, Helene, "The State of Working New Jersey 2011: The Lost Decade," NJ Policy Perspective, November 2011.

 

 

Data from the NJ DataBank may be used with the following acknowledgement:

Source: NJ DataBank (http://njdatabank.newark.rutgers.edu), a project of the School of Public Affairs and Administration, Rutgers University-Campus at Newark