While New Jersey has replaced nearly all of the jobs lost during the first few months of the recession, population growth means that the state has about 60,000 more workers than jobs. This has created an employers’ market and is creating a downward pressure on wages, analysts say.
NJPP’s Gordon MacInnes says the state’s job training efforts can be useful, but they do not address the larger issues.
“There are 3.5 million unfilled jobs in the United States,” he said. “You read the stories and read the same thing over and over, that there are people with engineering-type capabilities working on the factory floor, that people with high-level skills are working at lower-level jobs.”
He said several factors that have caused many of what he calls “high-value-added jobs” in the pharmaceutical, financial services and technology industries to leave the state. They include a breakdown in the state’s commitment to public education and the erosion of its infrastructure, both of which contribute to an atmosphere that is not conducive to new research and engineering jobs moving to the Garden State.
“While New Jersey cannot afford to disarm in terms of providing the kind of tax incentives available to retain jobs or add jobs, by itself it is not enough to address this problem,” he says. “We are not having the conversation about what could be done and should be done to rebuild New Jersey as a place where people want to create high-value-added jobs in research and engineering — the kinds of jobs that used to be pretty abundant in New Jersey.”
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