October 27, 2021

Exploring the Biggest Industries in New Jersey

New Jersey is a state with a rich history. Some of the industries that first made New Jersey wealthy are still around today, bigger and better than ever.

Before the Golden Age of Hollywood rolled around, New Jersey was the top location in the world for movie production. Before all but one other state, in 1976, New Jersey voted to legalize casinos in a state-wide referendum, cementing Atlantic City as a destination for game lovers. Yet New Jersey’s largest industry today was actually founded after its largest competitor.

The Biopharmaceutical Industry

While Pfizer was established as a company in Brooklyn in 1849, it would be another 37 years before Johnson & Johnson, New Jersey’s biopharmaceutical giant, would be established. Although New Jersey wasn’t as quick off the bat as it historically has been industry-wise, Johnson & Johnson would be one of the biggest companies to ever emerge from the state.

Ranked at no.37 on the Fortune 500 list, what started as a modest medicine company has grown to be one of the biggest employers in the state. This company alone turned over a staggering $82.1 billion in 2019.

This makes Johnson & Johnson the largest biopharmaceutical company, by revenue, in the entire world. Although Pfizer got a head start on them, it seems this New Jersey company has more than made up for the lost time.

Of course, Johnson & Johnson isn’t the only major company of this type to exist in New Jersey. Another biopharma company on the list is Merck, which boasted a revenue for the same year of $46.8 billion, no small boost to the state’s income.

The Casino Industry

New Jersey was an early adopter of legalized gaming, though it relegated all land-based casinos to Atlantic City back in 1976. This has made Atlantic City a hub for tourists and casino-lovers alike. This city alone bought in a staggering $3 billion last year from land-based gambling. No mean feat when you consider Atlantic City takes up only 45 square kilometers.

Of course, nowadays there’s another major player to factor into the casino game, which is the online branch of the business. Both online and land-based gaming is prohibited in many American states, so New Jersey has capitalized on its more lenient laws. This has enabled their residents to play poker in PokerStars without facing any restrictions on the types of games they can play.

The Film Industry

Finally, although not one of the largest contenders in terms of revenue for the state, the New Jersey film industry deserves an honorable mention. New Jersey was the undisputed birthplace of modern cinema as we know it.

In the late 1880s, none other than Thomas Edison and his team invented the kinetoscope and the kinetoscope. These discoveries were made in West Orange and were a staggeringly close example of the motion picture camera and film projectors that we know today. While filming took place in the state for a long time, it wasn’t long before Hollywood quite literally stole the spotlight.

About the author 

Peter Hatch

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