Jersey City: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Jersey City, which is located in the heart of the New Jersey/New York City metropolitan area, experienced an economic renaissance in the 1990s, and the growth trend continues into the 21st century. Traditionally dependent on sectors such as transportation and distribution, the city is now focusing on what they've targeted as FIRE (Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate) businesses. There has been an incredible 500 percent growth in these types of businesses in Jersey City since 1993. High rent, taxes, and utility costs in adjacent Manhattan have prompted many New York firms to relocate partial or entire operations across the Hudson River to Jersey City, creating what is known as "back office space." Since the early 1990s, many major firms have relocated or begun new operations in Jersey City. The phenomenon is so marked that Jersey City's new state-of-the-art corporate developments are being called "the sixth borough" and "Wall Street West." Jersey City has no city income tax, no corporate or payroll tax, no commercial rent tax, 30 percent lower utilities than New York City's Con Ed, and rent on Class A office space is about a third less than in Manhattan. The Jersey City Economic Development Corporation (JCEDC), a nonprofit corporation formed in 1980 by the city council, is the main business proponent of the city and administers most of the business incentive monies and job training programs. JCEDC is dedicated to revitalization that benefits residents as well as companies through its citywide commercial reconstruction program called HUB, for Holistic Urban Building.

Items and goods produced: electronic products, steel products, soaps and toiletries, cork, cosmetics, chemical products, cans and bottles, paint and varnish, various processed foods, coke, graphite, shoes, slippers, and sandals, elevators, lamps, automobile and aircraft parts, oil refining equipment, clothing, and chocolate

Incentive Programs—New and Existing Companies

Local programs

The Jersey City Economic Development Corporation (JCEDC), administers business loans and Small Business Administration micro-loans through its subsidiary Community Lending and Investment Corporation (CLIC). CLIC has apportioned 195 loans since its beginning and created and retained 3,022 jobs in the community, and helped reinvest $55 million, resulting in more than $4 billion in capital investments. Besides CLIC, the JCEDC oversees several other main programs including the Construction Management Department, which oversees all building projects from large to small, and the Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) program, which promotes development in designated sections of the city. Qualifying businesses in the UEZs are eligible for tax incentives, marketing assistance, financial counseling, and reduced unemployment insurance. Certified Zone retailers get a reduced sales tax of three percent, which is reinvested in further business development in the city. Two programs under the Urban Enterprise Zone have improved quality of life in targeted neighborhoods. Special Improvement Districts (SID) is in commercial districts citywide. Neighborhood business and property owners organize under the Business Improvement Districts (BID) program; they are private nonprofit organizations which obtain for their communities things like supplemental security and street sanitation. JCEDC also maintains a Business Information Center which offers very small businesses technical assistance and financial advice.

State programs

Programs funded by the state of New Jersey are for the most part administered at the local level by the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation. The state of New Jersey's Economic Development Authority (EDA) runs two programs for expanding or relocating businesses. The Business Employment Incentive Program offers grants to those companies that create jobs in New Jersey; grants can equal up to 80 percent of what would be the state income taxes for new employees. Companies must create at least 25 new full time permanent jobs, except for new technology businesses like the biotech industry, which need to create only 10 new jobs. Bonus incentives exist for businesses that generate 500 jobs or invest more than $20 million. Businesses must maintain location in New Jersey for at least one and a half times longer than the duration of the grant, which can be up to 10 years. The Business Relocation Assistance Grant program helps businesses that move to New Jersey as well as companies that move within the state to bigger facilities. Applicants must be approved by the state Treasurer, and greater consideration is given to jobs which pay more than one and a half times higher than minimum wage. In 2004, the EDA funded 10 projects in Hudson County, including three in Jersey City proper, with total funding exceeding $46 million. EDA provides a wide range of other services as well, in the forms of tax credits, bonds, grants, and real estate development which focus on brownfield renewal and other such development where there would otherwise be none. There are 24 other financial assistance programs offered by EDA; several of these programs focus on aiding women and minorities in joining the business world.

The New Jersey Urban Development Corporation provides lower-than-market loans to developers and businesses seeking to construct facilities in urban areas, including small business incubators. The New Jersey Division of International Trade helps companies dependent on international commerce with advice and access to trade missions and foreign trade shows. The New Jersey Small Business Development Corporation network specializes in business planning and growth strategy, loan packaging, and help in selling goods and services to government agencies, help to entrepreneurs in commercializing new technologies, linking up companies to local manufacturers who serve as mentors, and counseling for companies regarding overseas trade.

Job training programs

Several job training programs are available at the state and local level. New Jersey's welfare reform program, called Work First NJ, assists people on welfare in becoming self sufficient through education and job training. Another state funded program offered by New Jersey Economic Development Authority is the Entrepreneurial Training Institute (ETI), an intensive eight-week course that teaches aspiring new business owners about basic business operations and building a financial plan; ETI also helps them get financial aid upon graduation. The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development provides several programs. Under the Department of Labor, Workforce New Jersey operates several One-Stop Career Centers throughout the state, two of which are in Jersey City. The One-Stop Career Center is a resource for both employers and job seekers which integrates job training, job placement, and unemployment services. The Urban League of Hudson County started with a job training and placement program for seniors, and now offers a wide range of job training and related social services, such as child care assistance.

Development Projects

The most recent major redevelopment projects in Jersey City are divided into the areas of Downtown and the Waterfront, Journal Square, the HUB at Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, the Warehouse District Artist in Residence program, Saint Peter's College/McGinley Square Area Improvement project, residential development, and various commercial and industrial developments.

The Colgate Center is a waterfront development that contains nine office towers, a residential building, and a marina with ferries to Manhattan. 101 Hudson in Colgate Center is currently the tallest building in New Jersey, and Goldman Sachs has purchased other Hudson Street property with plans to erect the future tallest building in New Jersey. Notable tenants of Colgate Center include Merrill Lynch; Lehman Brothers Holdings; Hartz Mountain; Essex Water-front, LLC; Lord, Abbett, and Co.; American Express Travel Related Services; National Discount Brokers; and Datek Online. On the drawing board to be added to Colgate Center are two more residential complexes, a helicopter pad on a pier at the marina, a 798-space parking garage, an outdoor pool and a gym.

Harborside Financial Center is another waterfront development with five million square feet of office space and approval for more commercial space as well as residential units, North Pier Apartments with a stunning view of the harbor and lower Manhattan, and the new Hyatt Regency Hotel. Major tenants of Harborside include Deutsche Bank, DLJdirect Holdings, TD Waterhouse, Exodus Communications, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Dow Jones, the American Institute for Certified Public Accountants, SunAmerica Asset Management, Garban Intercapital America, Forest Laboratories, and TradeWeb.

Five luxury hotels have opened in the city since 2000: the Hyatt Regency at Harborside; Candlewood Suites, just north of Harborside; the Courtyard Marriott, located by the Newport/Pavonia PATH subway station; a new $60 million Hilton; and a Doubletree Club Suites which is also near Harborside Financial Center.

Grove Street is an area under much development recently, with a 306-unit luxury apartment complex with adjoining office tower and commercial and retail space; the Christopher Columbus Towers, under construction in 2005; and the sale of the International Financial Building for more than $152 million by Mack-Cali Realty to a joint venture of German companies. Major residents of the International Financial Building are PCN Bank, NTT Data Communications, and Donaldson, Lufkin, and Jenrette. The Newport area is another spot of major development in the downtown and waterfront of Jersey City. Between the Newport Mall and the Newport Tower, (presently the second tallest building in New Jersey) there are 4.3 million square feet of office space, 7,000 residential units, 1,200 hotel rooms, and 300,000 square feet of commercial space, attracting such tenants as the FDIC, Sears and JCPenney, Brown Brothers Harriman, Sterns, Filene's, First Chicago Trust, and USA Network.

Recent renovations in Journal Square, in the heart of the city, were done at the historic Loew's Theater, 26 Journal Square, the Trust Company Building, and the PATH subway plaza. General street beautification such as specialty sidewalks, old style street lamps, specially landscaped plaza and traffic islands for pedestrians, and a fountain, have lured new businesses and residents to the neighborhood. ADP, Dreyfus, and the NY/NJ Port authority are important tenants there.

The HUB at Martin Luther King Drive is a redevelopment project that has won awards and recognition both regionally and nationwide. Its community owned shopping center alongside a light rail station has helped to raise the home values and income levels in its vicinity.

The Warehouse Historic District, nicknamed WALDO with the accompanying acronym Work And Live District Overlay, was an area of mostly empty warehouses left after three major railroads withdrew from the area. Visual artists, dancers, musicians, and writers were attracted to the neighborhood, prompting the Planning Board and City Council to pass a re-zoning ordinance which allows and encourages people to live and work in the warehouse district if they are engaged in the fine arts as a career. Sensing that too much office space would deaden the area, the new WALDO ordinance actually limits use of office space and reserves 51 percent of space for artists' live/work use.

The Saint Peter's College/McGinley Square Improvement project proposes general street repairs and improvements such as trees, better lighting, new sidewalks, upgrading McGinley Square Park, renovating the Armory Building, attractive new facades on retail structures, and a new dorm at Saint Peter's College.

Recent residential developments are many. Of note is the Gotham, a 220 unit luxury highrise with amenities such as a 24 hour concierge, two restaurants, a fitness club, and indoor and outdoor play areas for children; and Port Liberty, known as "Venice on the Hudson," which features quaint old world style townhouses and will boast a $30 million golf course overlooking the Statue of Liberty.

Commercial and industrial development centers around Greenville Yards in Port Jersey Industrial Park, which houses Summit Imports Group's food warehouse, which the company recently moved from Manhattan's TriBeCa section; a BMW vehicle preparation center; Hudson Eagle; Anheuser-Busch and Tropicana beverage distribution centers; and the 135 acre Liberty Industrial Park, home to Snow Bird bottling company, and printing facilities of the New York Daily News and Cunningham Graphics. Claremont Industrial Park and Montgomery Industrial Park also attract businesses with a skilled blue collar labor force, with access to all types of transportation, and proximity to big markets.

Economic Development Information: Jersey City Economic Development Corporation, 30 Montgomery St., Eighth Floor, Jersey City, NJ 07302; telephone (201)333-7797; fax (201)333-9323. New Jersey Economic Development Authority, CN990, Trenton, NJ 08625-0990; telephone (609)292-0369

Commercial Shipping

Jersey City, with 11 miles of waterfront on the Hudson River, is part of the bustling Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Port Jersey's geographic location provides excellent access to the Atlantic Ocean from the Port of New York's Upper Harbor. Docks on the Hudson River and Upper New York Bay accommodate freighters, ocean liners, and coastal and river vessels. Port Jersey is divided into a 100 acre industrial park and a modern 110 acre port, with bulk capabilities, roll-on, roll-off, breakbulk facilities, and fully computerized operations. Port Jersey provides a large terminal for containerized shipping.

The Greenville Yards of Conrail are adjacent to the port, whose own railroad system services the port's seventeen berths and its industrial complex. Truck terminals and warehousing accommodate the more than 100 motor carriers servicing the city. Jersey City is only 10 minutes away from Teterboro Airport, the nation's busiest corporate hub. Other airports certified for carrier operations nearby are the Port Authority Downtown Manhattan/Wall St. about five miles away, and Newark Liberty International, about eight miles away. Other public use airports less than 10 miles from Jersey City are the West 30th St. in New York, the Newark NR 1, and New York Skyports, Inc.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Jersey City has an abundance of skilled laborers of many ethnic origins. The state of New Jersey as a whole experienced record employment levels in 2004 and the state's jobless rate was well below the national average for the eighteenth straight month as of October 2004, a full one percent below the national rate at that time. Non-farm employment in an 11-county Northern New Jersey Region grew in 2004 after three years of losses, and employment in the region is expected to continue to grow moderately in 2005 and beyond. Sectors expected to enjoy the most growth in employment include government, education, health and social services, and retail trade. Construction is expected to continue steadily, while manufacturing, information, and trade, transportation and utilities are expected to continue a downward trend.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Jersey City metropolitan area (including metropolitan New York City) labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 8,278,500

Number of workers employed in . . .

construction and mining: 329,700

manufacturing: 499,600

trade, transportation, and utilities: 1,582,400

information: 289,300

financial activities: 769,700

professional and business services: 1,223,500

educational and health services: 1,358,000

leisure and hospitality: 606,700

other services: 346,000

government: 1,273,000

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $13.24

Unemployment rate: 5.4% (February 2005)

Jersey City: Economy

Largest county employers Number of employees
United States Post Office 4,032
The Port Authority of NY and NJ 3,900
County of Hudson 2,700

Jersey City: Economy

HealthCare Staffing and Consulting 2,000
Deutsche Bank Trust Co. NJ Ltd. 1,833
Insurance Service Office Inc. 1,217
Fleet, NJ Company Development Corp. 1,000
Equiserve, Inc. 850
Provident Bank 850
Bon Secours New Jersey Health System, Inc. 818
JP Morgan Chase Bank 600
Port Authority Trans-Hudson, Inc. 600
Saint Francis Hospital, Inc. 600
National Discount Broker Group, Inc. 568
Lehman Commercial Paper, Inc. 525
US News World Report LLC 500
Top Job Personnel, Inc. 500

Cost of Living

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors in the Jersey City area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $990,800 (Manhattan/metro NY-NJ)

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 216.0 (Manhattan/metro NY-NJ) (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: 1.4% to 8.97% ranging over six income brackets

State sales tax rate: 6.0%

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: None

Property tax rate: $45.48 per each $1,000 of assessed value

Economic Information: Hudson County Chamber of Commerce & Industry, 574 Summit Ave., Suite 404, Jersey City, NJ 07306; telephone (201)653-7400; fax (201)798-3886. Jersey City Economic Development Corporation, 601 Pavonia Ave., Jersey City, NJ 07036; telephone (201)420-7755; fax (201)420-0304