New Jersey Sees ‘Historic Economic Progress’

Governor Phil Murphy says the Garden State’s workforce and location provide tremendous value to businesses.

By Kari Williams
From the January/February 2024 Issue


New Jersey has “unleashed historic economic progress,” according to Governor Phil Murphy.

“Since the last administration, we have more than doubled the growth rate of our state’s economy. And, at the same time, we have created nearly 200,000 jobs,” Gov. Murphy said in his 2024 State of the State Address. “Jobs that pay well. Jobs that support a family. Jobs that give people the confidence that they can make their future in the Garden State.”

The governor has invested in the state’s economy with several tax credits and created new industries, including adult-use cannabis, film production, and offshore wind production. Plus, the film industry has brought more than $650 million to New Jersey and created roughly 8,500 jobs, according to the governor’s office.

Governor Phil Murphy“Since the last administration, we have more than doubled the growth rate of our state’s economy.”

— Governor Phil Murphy

Business Facilities: Please tell us about the business climate in New Jersey now. What is driving its success?

Gov. Phil Murphy: There’s no better measure of our success than CNBC recently naming New Jersey the most-improved state in America for business. This achievement is the result of our strategic vision to both bolster existing industries and build new ones from whole cloth, all while cutting taxes, investing in our world-class education system, and developing targeted business incentive and assistance programs. As a result, we’ve created the most improved climate for job growth, recorded seven straight credit rating upgrades from Wall Street, and have one of the strongest housing markets in the nation. Our location, coupled with our infrastructure, and highly skilled workforce, creates tremendous value for businesses while our unparalleled quality of life makes New Jersey the best state to raise a family.

BF: What are the growth sectors in New Jersey right now? What is the state doing to foster these industries? Would you highlight a few “hot spots” for economic development in 2024?

Gov. Murphy: We are being highly strategic about investing in the industries of tomorrow in order to generate the jobs of the future. In just about every category, New Jersey is paving the way forward because innovation is both our heritage and our future.

Strategic investments in offshore wind and solar development, which will produce tens of thousands of good-paying, family-sustaining jobs, are just one example of how we are creating economic opportunities through innovation.

Our second-to-none film tax incentive program is establishing New Jersey as one of the top film-producing states in the country, with dozens of existing professional-grade production studios and several new, major studio production facilities poised to come to life soon, including Lionsgate in Newark and Netflix at Fort Monmouth [in Monmouth County]. These projects will create thousands of good-paying union jobs, generate hundreds of millions of dollars in economic investments, and provide a boon to local businesses in and around these new studios and location shoots.

We’re also investing an enormous amount of energy and resources to secure our legacy as the “medicine chest of the world” by doubling down on investments in health sciences and positioning New Jersey to be a global leader in generative artificial intelligence (AI). Just last month, in partnership with Princeton University, we announced plans to create a new AI innovation hub that will bring together researchers, industry, and thought leaders, academics, ethicists, and the public sector, to advance developments in AI and incubate groundbreaking discoveries.

Governor Phil Murphy
Nokia announces plans to relocate its campus in Murray Hill, NJ by 2028 to a new state-of-the-art research and development (R&D) facility in New Brunswick, NJ. (Photo: Courtesy NJ Governor’s Office)


We stand alone when it comes to our potential to pioneer game-changing innovation because we have more scientists and engineers per square mile than anywhere else on the planet. And we have some of the most renowned institutions of higher education in the world. With New Jersey’s newly announced AI Moonshot, our mission is for the state’s top minds to pioneer a series of AI-powered breakthroughs over the next decade that will change the lives of billions for the better.

BF: Access to available workforce is more important than ever to site selection teams. How does New Jersey deliver on that need for businesses?

Gov. Murphy: From preschool to doctorate programs, our elite education system provides businesses with unparalleled access to the workforce they need to succeed. We are ranked No. 1 for early childhood education, have one of the best public school systems in the country, the second highest high school graduation rate in the country, and the top university in the country. New Jersey also leads on workforce development, with competitive employee training grants, apprenticeship training, and on-the-job training programs.

BF: What incentives and other programs are being emphasized to encourage retention of businesses and encourage others to come to the state?

Gov. Murphy: New Jersey has a wide variety of financing and incentive programs to attract and support businesses, including jobs-based tax credits, real estate and development tax credits, community development programs, Main Street technical assistance, innovation economy programs, clean energy programs, and low-interest business financing.

Trenton New Jersey
An aerial view of Trenton, NJ (Photo: Adobe Stock / mandritoiu)

BF: What are the key issues facing the state in terms of business development? How are you addressing these issues?

Gov. Murphy: We are located in the heart of the highly desirable northeast corridor, so making New Jersey a more affordable place to live and do business is a top priority. We’re pouring historic levels of funding into property tax relief, which, when coupled with our first-in-the-nation school system and our enviable location, makes New Jersey the ideal place for a highly educated workforce to reside.

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Through our nation-leading pandemic relief and main street revitalization programs, we have invested nearly $1 billion into helping our small businesses stay afloat. These investments are not only helping our family-owned businesses survive in the short-term, but thrive in the long-term. We’re also targeting federal American Rescue Plan funding to aid in the revitalization of our cities through the Urban Investment Fund and the Atlantic City Economic Foundations Fund. These programs will work alongside other business incentive programs to catalyze new economic and community activity where shifting patterns of work and commuting since the pandemic have reduced foot traffic and created ongoing challenges.

BF: What else would you like site selectors to know about New Jersey’s business climate?

Gov. Murphy: New Jersey isn’t just a great place to do business, it’s a place where employees want to live and raise a family, and it has something for everyone. We have a thriving culinary scene, major sports teams, and everything from mountains to beaches, vineyards to museums, and diverse cities with vibrant art scenes to quaint towns with renowned public schools.

Check out all the latest news related to New Jersey economic development, corporate relocation, corporate expansion and site selection.


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