New Brunswick: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Research, business, and industry are the economic pillars of Middlesex County, where well over 20,000 firms are located. At the heart of research activity is Rutgers University, which maintains more than 60 research facilities. Research as well as business and industrial activities are carried out at the more than 100 Fortune 500 corporations that maintain plants and other facilities in Middlesex County, including Johnson & Johnson (world headquarters), Ford, General Motors, Pepsico, Cola-Cola, E. I. DuPont, General Electric, and others. Middlesex County boasts one of the largest business parks in the country, the 2,350-acre Raritan Center, which lists the presence of 20 Fortune 500 companies.

Rutgers University is at the northern end of the U.S. Route 1 "high technology corridor" that extends to Princeton University at the southern end of Middlesex County. Both universities are high technology centers in a variety of disciplines that attract research and engineering firms.

Items and goods produced: chemicals, pharmaceuticals, ceramics products, metal refining, automobiles, air conditioners, plastics, electronics

Incentive Programs—New and Existing Companies

A variety of local, state, and federal programs are available for businesses in the New Brunswick area. The Middlesex County Certified Local Development Company administers the 504 program (long-term fixed asset financing).

Local programs

The New Brunswick Department of Planning, Community and Economic Development provides programs for businesses looking to locate, expand, or upgrade their operations. The New Brunswick Small Business Loan Guarantee provides capital to small businesses located or looking to locate with the city. The New Brunswick Micro-Loan Program provides start-up businesses with modest amounts of capital. Other funds are available for facade improvement, and assistance is offered for business plan writing and site location. Certain sites within the city deemed in need of redevelopment may be eligible for favorable tax treatment and other benefits.

State programs

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) offers a wide range of financial, real estate development, and technical services to encourage business development and growth in the state. There are 20 different programs available for businesses of all sizes, from startups to Fortune 500 companies. The EDA issues bonds to provide financing at favorable interest rates for business ventures, and makes low-interest loans and guarantees loans made by private investors and lenders. It also offers a full range of real estate development services to stimulate both private and public development projects. In addition, the EDA administers a business incentive program which provides grants to expanding or relocating businesses that will create new jobs in New Jersey. Loans and grants also are available to municipalities and private property owners to encourage the clean-up and redevelopment of hazardous sites around the state.

The New Jersey Urban Development Corporation provides low-interest loans to developers and businesses seeking to construct facilities in urban areas, including small business incubators. The New Jersey Small Business Development Center also provides business assistance with free consulting, affordable training, funding partners, and corporate sponsors. The Technology Help Desk & Incubator, subsidized by the state, provides inexpensive office and wet/dry lab space to small and startup technologically oriented companies.

Job training programs

Various state and federal incentive programs offer tax credit inducements based on new hires, expansion, and relocation. Employment and training programs through the federal Workforce Investment Act and the State Workforce Development Partnership reimburse employers for providing on-the-job training to certain employees.

Development Projects

As the world moves into the twenty-first century, New Brunswick is undergoing a period of tremendous redevelopment by both the public and private sectors. The Lord Sterling Elementary School, a $25-million facility completed in 2003, was built as a joint project of a private developer and the public school board, the first such venture in New Jersey history. With more than $1.5 billion in investments, the city has also seen the construction of major office and retail complexes, the development of an internationally recognized cultural center, the emergence of world-class health facilities, and the creation of affordable housing. Through 2007, more than 1.75 million square feet of new construction is expected, representing an additional investment of $325 million.

Downtown New Brunswick is a vital part of the city and one of New Jersey's most exciting urban centers. Upcoming projects in the area include the Heldrich Center, which will include a corporate conference center, hotel, apartments, and retail space in the center of downtown. Luxury apartments are to be constructed at the Highlands at Plaza Square and the Metropolitan. Expansion and renovation will be underway in late 2005 at Albany Plaza II and Civic Square IV.

Lower George Street, which connects downtown with the Douglass College area is being rejuvenated by an influx of new housing construction and rehabilitation of existing buildings. New retail areas are planned, as is an elementary school.

In the French Street neighborhood, the Robert Woods Johnson Hospital—which has been steadily expanding over the past decade—has in the planning stages a new home for its Child Health Institute, a nationally recognized research center for children's diseases. Expansion of French Street's vibrant retail area is expected to begin in 2005 with the construction of a 75,000-square-foot shopping center. Existing French Street merchants will be offered assistance as part of the city's facade improvement plan to improve their business.

Economic Development Information: New Brunswick Development Corporation, 120 Albany Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901; telephone (732)249-2220. City of New Brunswick, 78 Bayard Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901; telephone (732)745-5004. County of Middlesex, Office of Economic Development, 1 JFK Square, 1st Floor, New Brunswick, NJ 08901; telephone (732)745-3433; fax (732)745-5911. New Jersey Economic Development Authority, Capitol Place One, Trenton, NJ 08625; telephone (609)292-1800

Commercial Shipping

Easy access to markets has facilitated the growth of Middlesex County. Major highways directly link the county to the markets of New York, Philadelphia, and beyond. Freight is handled by more than 200 common carrier truck/van lines and a commuter rail network that includes service on the Northeast Corridor rail route. Deep water shipping is possible through facilities at the mouth of the Raritan River and the Arthur Kill, as well as the Port of New York and Port Elizabeth, a short distance away.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Middlesex County is home to a large, growing, and highly skilled labor pool; unskilled labor is also abundant. Businesses benefit from the presence of Rutgers University and the county-wide vocational and technical high schools there. Nearly half of the county's population has been to college. Ample space has been set aside for future industrial expansion and the outlook is considered good for continued balanced and controlled growth. Since the turn of the century, a major portion of new jobs created in Middlesex County have been in the service sector, especially accounting, personnel specialists, and engineering. The New Brunswick area benefits from its proximity to a wide array of cultural facilities.

The following is a summary of data regarding the New Brunswick labor force, 2004 annual averages (Edison, New Jersey in Middlesex County).

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 1,009,200

Number of workers employed in . . .

construction and mining: 46,600

manufacturing: 82,700

trade, transportation, and utilities: 227,200

information: 31,800

financial activities: 63,000

professional and business services: 163,600

educational and health services: 129,300

leisure and hospitality: 77,600

other services: 40,400

government: 147,000

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $15.30 (Statewide average)

Unemployment rate: 4.2% (April 2005; New Jersey)

New Brunswick: Economy

Largest employers Number of employees
Rutgers University 8,500
Robert Wood Johnson Hospital 3,500
St. Peter's University Hospital 3,500
University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey 2,500
Johnson & Johnson 1,600

Cost of Living

Middlesex County boasts an expanding supply of affordable rental apartments, single-family homes, townhouses, and condominiums.

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors for New Brunswick.

2004 ACCRA Average Home Price: Not reported

2004 ACCRA Cost of Living Index: Not reported

State income tax rate: 1.4% to 8.97%

State sales tax rate: 6%

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: None

Property tax rate: $3.75 per $100 of assessed value (2003)

Economic Information: Middlesex County Planning Board, 40 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick, NJ 08901; telephone (732)745-3062; Middlesex County Regional Chamber of Commerce, 1 Distribution Way, Suite 101, Monmouth Junction, NJ, 08852; telephone (732)821-7700, fax (732)821-5852; email