Major Industries and Commercial Activity
Government (state, county, and municipal) forms the single largest sector in Trenton. Other significant economic areas include manufacturing, trade, and services. Trenton's set of unique circumstances contributes to its continued growth: the city benefits from the spill-over of high-technology industries and research centers locating along the Route 1 corridor; land costs, rents, and taxes in Trenton are a fraction of those in New York City, yet Trenton remains an acceptable commute for much of the Northeast Corridor; and commitment by state and local government is high.
Items and goods produced: refrigerated showcases, light bulbs, rubber goods, purses, automobile body hardware, pottery and porcelain products, chemicals, fabricated metal products, lumber and wood products, textiles, food products, electronic goods
Incentive Programs—New and Existing Companies
The Capital City Redevelopment Corporation has all of the information a new or expanding business needs to locate or expand into the Capital District and to take advantage of all the public programs that are available. The Mercer County Community College Small Business Development Center provides entrepreneurs and small businesses in Mercer and other counties with high quality, one-to-one management consulting, training, and the information businesses need to maximize growth in a global economy. The Mercer County One-Stop Small Business Center provides technical and finance procurement assistance and the Science & Technology Incubator helps high-tech firms get established. Trenton has a partnership with the Trenton Business Assistance Corporation, which offers merchant and micro business loan programs. In addition, Trenton is the recipient of a $2,300,000 Economic Development Administration grant made available to help in the development of the Hill Complex in the Trenton enterprise zone.
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. The majority of its assistance is to small and mid-sized businesses. 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 that 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.
Job training programs
Mercer County Community College offers programs and services for businesses that include a business incubator, a center for training and development, international trade programs, the Network for Occupational Training & Education (NOTE), a small business development center, and New Jersey-sponsored employee training.
One of the primary focuses of the city's economic development strategy currently lies in the area of affordable housing, as well as plans for Trenton's first development of luxury, single-family homes in decades. The $46 million Trenton Train Station renovation is expected to attract downtown and regional development, including new office buildings and commercial projects. Plans are underway to build a new criminal courthouse and parking garage in downtown Trenton; the facility should be completed by 2008. A parking garage and office on Front Street by the Economic Development Corporation of Trenton was in the works in mid-2005. Trenton's school district is in the midst of a several-year, $300 million project that involves construction of several new school buildings, as well as renovation of many already in existence. The recently completed Waterfront Park and the Sovereign Bank Arena have increased entertainment and trade show options in Trenton. Opened in April 2002, the $54 million Lafayette Yard Marriott Conference Hall includes a 197 room upscale hotel, a conference center with more than 16,000 square feet of meeting space, a grand ballroom, a 120-seat restaurant and lounge, and a 650-stall parking garage. The hotel is connected to the War Memorial, a historic 1,900 seat amphitheater that recently underwent a $38 million renovation, and serves as a local cultural center for the Greater Trenton Symphony, special events, and large group meetings.
Economic Development Information: New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), PO Box 990, Trenton, NJ 08625-0990; telephone (609)292-1800; email email@example.com. Mercer County One-Stop Career Center, 650 South Broad Street, Trenton, NJ 08650; telephone (609)989-6523
Mercer County Airport, just minutes from Trenton in Ewing Township, offers passenger, charter, cargo, and helicopter service. The Philadelphia and New York City airports, as well as Newark International Airport, are located an hour's drive away from Trenton and offer comprehensive domestic and international flight service. Rail freight service is by Conrail. Several dozen motor freight carriers service the city, taking advantage of Trenton's location along U.S. Route 1 and of the short-haul trucking to and from two of the nation's largest cities: New York and Philadelphia.
Labor Force and Employment Outlook
Mercer County's county executive, Brian M. Hughes, called 2004 "a year of extraordinary growth for our local economy," citing 7,700 new jobs added within Mercer County during that year as well as decreasing unemployment numbers. Hughes also cited partnerships with local colleges and universities as vital to the area's economic growth and future prosperity.
The following is a summary of data regarding the Trenton metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual averages.
Size of nonagricultural labor force: 231,100
Number of workers employed in . . .
construction and mining: 5,800
trade, transportation, and utilities: 32,600
financial activities: 15,900
professional business services: 34,600
educational and health services: 42,800
leisure and hospitality: 14,400
other services: 7,700
Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $15.67 (New Jersey; 2004 annual average)
Unemployment rate: 3.3% (April 2005)
Cost of Living
The median home price in Trenton was reported as $230,080 in 2004. Several affordable housing projects are currently underway in the area, as well as the development of luxury, single-family homes, the city's first such project in decades.
The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors in the Trenton area.
2004 ACCRA Average Home Price: Not reported
2004 ACCRA Cost of Living Index: Not reported
State income tax rate: ranges from 1.4% to 8.97%
State sales tax rate: 6%
Local income tax rate: None
Local sales tax rate: None; qualified retailers in Trenton's Urban Enterprise Zone charge 3%
Property tax rate: $3.98 per $100. Equalization rate: 96.4% (2004)
Economic Information: Mercer County Chamber of Commerce, 214 West State Street, PO Box 2708, Trenton, NJ 18607-2708; telephone (609)393-4143. City of Trenton, 318 East State Street, Trenton, NJ 08608; telephone (609)989-3030
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