UNION COUNTY, NJ—For the second year in a row, Union County experienced one of the highest wage increases of any large County in America, ranking within the top 20 nationally, and second highest in the state of New Jersey.
Union County realized a 4.5 percent average weekly wage percent increase from 2013-2014, marking the second year in a row of high gains. From 2012-2013, Union County averaged a 5.2 percent increase, making it fourth highest among the nation’s most populous counties.
Atlantic County was the only other County with a higher wage increase, but economists of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics attributed it to a five percent increase in that County’s unemployment rate last year—the largest in the America.
“Our investments in Union County’s workforce as a whole are assisting our residents to enjoy the higher wage increases as the economy has improved,” said Freeholder Chairman Mohamed S. Jalloh. “The County’s has worked to foster a climate that encourages employment growth, productivity and sustainability.”
Chairman Jalloh has initiated an expansion of the County’s Workforce Innovation Business Center (WIB Center) as part of his initiatives on behalf of County government for 2015. Over the past two years, the Freeholder Board has invested well over $2 million into job training, placements, programs for entrepreneurs, and for businesses that hire county residents. To date this past year, the WIB Center has worked with its private sector partners to identify 800 new jobs for County residents, and is in the process of providing training and job placements.
The Workforce Innovation Business Center just worked with Whole Foods to train and hire approximately 187 people for positions for their new store that is opening in Clark in August, and other regional locations. Whole Foods has committed to continuing to use the WIB Center at Jersey Gardens Mall in Elizabeth to continue to identify County residents for any jobs that may arise in the region.
Recently, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders approved funding for United Way of Greater Union (UWGUC) to implement Chairman Jalloh’s Focus on Families initiative that will integrate economic development, workforce development (in conjunction with the WIB) and family services in a comprehensive effort to support families, particularly those most in need. The initiative calls for the building of two new Family Success Centers (Union and Rahway) and the implementation of a Youth Employment Program to begin later in the year.
Finally as part of Chairman Jalloh’s initiatives, the County’s Economic Development Department worked to start an Economic Development response team that has gone town-to-town to meet with elected officials to assess their needs, have an open dialogue and determine what the county do to meet their means.
For more information on County services and programs please visit www.ucnj.org
For more statistical information on wage growth in NJ, go to: http://www.bls.gov/regions/new-york-new-jersey/news-release/countyemploymentandwages_newjersey.htm