CAMDEN, N.J. – Camden City’s unemployment rate fell to 6.8% in May, 2019, according to New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development recently released figures, falling to its lowest rate in at least 30 years.
By comparison, the unemployment rate was 8.4% last May and had reached as high as 24% in 1992 according to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Additionally, the labor force for May, 2019 in Camden City was 25,000 compared to just over 35,000 in 1992.
“No one in a position of responsibility has said Camden achieved its maximum potential; we have shown with factual evidence how the city and its residents are flourishing,” Councilwoman Felicia Reyes Morton said in a press release from the County. “The Governor’s own data proves our point. Thank you, Governor Murphy.”
Camden County Freeholder Director, Louis Cappelli, Jr. sees the low unemployment as one part of the city’s renaissance.
“Today, Camden has the safest neighborhoods in fifty-years, our k-12 graduation rates are higher than they have ever been and everyday Camden residents are getting opportunities to become gainfully employed in companies moving and expanding in the city,” Cappelli said.
In 2017, Camden City was cited by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as having the highest employment growth rate in the nation. The municipal economy was showing significant growth and providing opportunity and access to well-paying jobs by new and expanding companies.
“Camden’s rise is objectively verified by the fact that over $2.5 billion in investments have been made in the city’s parks, roads, public safety infrastructure, neighborhood schools, new commercial and housing developments, and ‘Eds & Meds’ institutions,” Kris Kolluri, CEO of Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, said. “The unemployment data validates the fact that our inclusive prosperity policies are working and residents are the beneficiaries. There is no doubt that years of economic and social stagnation are hard to overcome, but elected, faith, business and non-profit leaders along with residents are committed to building on the progress that has been made.”
Since 2013, more than 30 new businesses have either committed to or is now calling Camden City home. Approximately 40 percent of those businesses have located or will locate their central operations in city neighborhoods. Companies like ResinTech, Contemporary Graphics, EMR and IPak are all already operating in parts of the city.
Christina M. Renna, Senior Vice President, Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey sees the lower unemployment rate as a result of recent tax incentives to businesses.
“There have been many doubts about whether or not Camden is seeing a return on investment as employers move into the City,” Renna said. “Today, it is clear those concerns – that have been voiced repeatedly, publicly and unfairly – are entirely unfounded. Companies are moving into Camden and investing in its most valuable asset – its residents – proving yet again that the incentives are doing the job they were meant to do in Camden City.”
The New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act of 2013 offers companies tax credits for created or retained jobs.