By Joshua Burd
New Jersey’s transportation and warehousing workforce is on the rise, putting the state in position to remain attractive to the ever-growing e-commerce and logistics sectors.
Those are among the findings of a new report by CBRE, which determined that New Jersey had the fifth-fastest growing transportation and warehousing workforce among industrial hubs surveyed by its research team. The state registered a 40 percent increase in such employment from 2013 to 2017, while its 69,960 total transportation and warehouse jobs as of year-end 2017 accounted for 5 percent of the state’s employment.
“New Jersey has long been recognized as a superior labor market, thanks to an abundance of local jobs, an excellent location, unparalleled infrastructure and access to a multitude of transportation modes,” said Jeff Hipschman, senior managing director with CBRE. “Over the past few years the state has continued to attract warehousing and logistic companies, further driving both the growth in new job opportunities and the need for more developments.”
The real estate services firm said a strong labor force and affordability bode well for individual submarkets, given the continued growth of e-commerce. CBRE notes that the sector is projected to create demand for another 452,000 warehouse and distribution workers in the U.S. in 2018 and 2019, putting pressure on the already labor-strapped industry.
New Jersey came in behind only Charlotte, the Inland Empire, the Central Valley and Reno among markets with the highest transportation and warehousing employment growth, CBRE found. Overall, the firm analyzed transportation and warehousing employment and wage growth in 37 top U.S. industrial markets.
The report said that retailers, delivery companies and third-party logistics firms can react to the labor crunch in any or all of three ways: recruiting more workers from other industries, investing in automation to enhance labor efficiency and expanding into markets with ready and available workforces. The analysis by CBRE research and CBRE’s labor analytics group of federal employment data identified multiple U.S. markets that offer advantageous combinations of availability, quality and cost of labor for warehouses and distribution.
CBRE determined the upcoming demand for another 452,000 warehouse and distribution workers by applying a ratio of one employee per 1,000 square feet of e-commerce distribution space to its forecast for warehouse-construction completions in the U.S. in 2018 and 2019. That projected demand for 2018 and 2019 exceeds the industry’s job growth since 2013 of 180,300 new positions a year, an acceleration that reflects the growing volume of e-commerce sales.