According to New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program CEO John Kennedy, manufacturing plays an important role in the Garden State economy, with 10,552 companies employing more than 360,000 workers.

“We also need to remember one manufacturing job drives four other jobs, so that’s like 1.8 million New Jerseyans having some connection to stem and manufacturing,” he said

He said instead of building automobiles and other large machines, New Jersey has morphed into a supply-chain state.

“That means that we supply components, so we cross a lot of lines, which is kind of cool in New Jersey.”

He explained the life sciences and biopharma industries manufacture many products, “but also chemicals. We’re not talking about Exxon Mobil completely, we’re talking about fragrances, and all sorts of gasses and so on.”

“Metal forming and machining is another one, plastics and rubber and, of course, food. It isn’t the elves that are making the cookies."

He noted there are more than 1,100 companies in New Jersey that make food or ingredients or drinks, or something to support that industry.

He noted many manufacturers in New Jersey work for the Department of Defense, “so when you do DOD work, it’s even more critical to protect that information.”

Many manufacturing plants are now completely computerized and some have been retro-fitted with the latest high-tech devices to improve speed and quality.

“It’s very much cutting edge all the time with manufacturing.”

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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