Construction Is on the Rise in New Jersey
If you have traveled around the state lately, chances are you have come across construction of some kind.
According to the State Department of Labor and Workforce Development, there has been a spike of 10,000 construction jobs in 2014 and an increase of 7,900 during January and February of this year.
One housing and economics expert said there are five main factors driving the construction increase.
"The first is higher education which is the result of the bond issue and universities and colleges are leveraging those funds in public/private partnerships," said James Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.
The second is demographically driven.
"The real growth in the population is millennials and aging baby boomers who are resizing in the housing market. So, we have almost record high numbers of multifamily construction. The multifamily rental housing sector is now about 60 percent where historically, it's been about 30 percent," Hughes said.
New Jersey is also the third largest warehouse distribution center in the country, a sector that has been growing very rapidly as a result of e-commerce.
"Instead of building conventional warehouses, what are now being erected are very large fulfillment centers, like the one for Amazon in Robbinsville. With people shopping on the Internet, a lot of space is needed to store items before they are shipped," Hughes said.
Data centers are a significant factor to the increase in construction as well, namely because of New Jersey's geography.
"In many cases, the big New York brokerage houses need vast data centers to store their information and they want them on a different power grid than the main headquarters, but they can't be too far away from the major trading centers because those milliseconds are very important in high-speed trading. New Jersey is in a good location for that," Hughes said.
With the aging baby boomer population, health care centers are also in high demand.
"There is no longer any baby boomer under the age of 50. They are between 50 and 68 years of age this year and they are requiring increased health expenditures and treatments," Hughes said.