Economic Overview

Sailboat © Cape May County Tourism Southern New Jersey continues to experience significant economic headwinds as business activity gradually recovers to pre-recession levels. Population declines in the region are being watched for effects on employment and employers.

A bright spot in the economy included the success stories achieved in the aviation regional industry cluster.  The Aviation Initiative gained traction when the new 60,000 s.f. Technology Center, located on the Stockton Aviation Research and Technology Park, started construction. Another significant improvement is the recent reopening of two major casino hotels.
The southern New Jersey region appears to be poised to move toward a new vision, which will yield a more stable and sustainable economic environment.

Emerging or Declining Industry Clusters

Examining the employment trend data and forecasts from the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development reveals there are six sectors of the economy that are demonstrating double digit employment growth across all four counties. These include: Healthcare; Professional Services; Administrative Services; Transportation (Logistics); Real Estate Services; and Construction. The growth in communication and utility jobs implies growth in technology subsectors.

“Transportation and Logistics” is among the fastest growing employment sectors statewide; and within the services sector, there are four subsectors that comprise 78% of all service employment. They are: professional, technical & scientific services; educational services; healthcare services; and hospitality services.

The construction industry stands out in Cumberland and Cape May County as an industry that is expected to have some of the most significant growth in terms of real numbers as well as percent growth. In Cape May and Cumberland County, the number of construction jobs is expected to increase by 24% and 21% respectively through 2024.

In Salem County and Cumberland Counties the transportation and warehousing industry is expected to have some greatest growth among all sectors with a 23% (350 jobs), and 21% (400 jobs) growth rate respectively.

The Health Care & Social Assistance Industry is projected to be one of the highest employment sectors across each of the three counties by 2024, averaging 9.6% growth in the three-county area where the State growth projection is 17%.  A shift in the traditional hospital model has led to an increasing in services through urgent care, outpatient and health center facilities that relieve the burden on emergency rooms in the region’s hospital network. The Health Care industry is anticipated to be the top employer by 2024 in Cumberland and Salem Counties. An increase in health care services resulted in a combined $1.29 billion dollars in expenditures for the region’s hospitals in 2015, a major contributor to the south Jersey economy.

Rooted in tourism economy, Accommodations and Food Service is expected to be the top employer in the coastal counties of Atlantic and Cape May employing 30% and 16%, respectively, of the workforce by 2024.

The New Jersey State Workforce Development Plan is centered around a Talent Development Strategy that focuses on the state’s 7 key industries: Advanced Manufacturing, Financial Services, Health Care, Life Sciences, Retail, Hospitality & Tourism, Technology and Transportation, Logistics & Distribution. These networks aim to create effective workforce and
education programs that have the most current industry intelligence and respond to real-time employment needs.

The state has compiled an Industry-Valued Credential and Degree List which is a blueprint for in-demand occupational certifications to optimize skill sets and salaries of employees. Advanced Manufacturing, Financial Services, Health Care, Retail, Hospitality & Tourism and Trade, Transportation & Logistics all have Targeted Industry Partnerships located in the SJEDD region which are led by the regions colleges, technical centers and business organizations to partner with employers, educational institutions and workforce organizations to provide assistance to students and jobseekers in these growing industries.