Is the Gold Coast the future of NJ?

From the Jersey Journal:


Lawrence Haynes is a fairly new employee at the Hyatt Regency Jersey City on the Hudson. He’s a bellhop who enjoys his interaction with hotel guests.

Stefan Fritz is chef de cuisine at the full-service hotel that opened in the summer of 2002.

Luis Aponte, a parking attendant, works there, too.

The trio may not know it, but their jobs are in one of the fastest-growing industries in Hudson County: the hospitality and retail field, a significant factor in the area’s economic growth that is reshaping the county’s workforce and redirecting labor officials’ training efforts.

The industry is one of four offering new, attractive employment opportunities in Hudson County, experts say. The others are corporate services and real estate, supply chain industries and manufacturing.

“There are a lot of job opportunities here,” said Haynes, 35, a Newark resident who found his new job through a classified advertisement.

According to data compiled by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, finance and insurance had the largest employment pool in 2005, the most recent year with available figures. Then, the industry employed 16 percent of the county’s total workforce of about 197,000.

The percentage reflects the rapid growth that occurred in the county’s financial areas between 1992 and 2000, said James W. Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.

“The future there really is Manhattan becoming too expensive and Manhattan not having any vacant space,” Hughes said. “Wall Street West is really going to depend on firms spilling over from Manhattan to New Jersey because of cost reasons.”

Within the county’s financial district – mostly along the Hudson River waterfront in Jersey City – the securities and commodities industry in 2005 paid the highest average annual salary, $156,339, according to the labor department.

“The fastest growing sector is the financial activity, but also health services are growing very fast in Hudson County and in the state as a whole,” Hughes said. “Second is leisure and hospitality. People are working in hotels and people are working in restaurants. Hudson’s labor force is growing at both ends.”

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