New Jersey's Index Rank and Job Migration

October 09, 2012

The left-of-center ragamuffins at the New Jersey Policy Perspective today are gently pushing back against this morning's release of our 2013 State Business Tax Climate Index, in which New Jersey ranks as having the second-to-worst tax system in the country. They note that New Jersey is home to a number of corporate headquarters and claim that while it is losing population, it's losing it to other high-tech places, not Wyoming, South Dakota, or Nevada.

Generally, that's actually what is happening. This map shows aggregate state net migration in 2009. Income is moving to Montana (#1), Florida (#3), Wyoming (#4), and South Dakota (#7) -- all states that do well in the Index -- and away from New Jersey (#46). 

Specifically for New Jersey, over the period 2001-10, they lost net migration to every state except New York and Michigan. (You can use our migration data tool to pull up the numbers.) Over that period, $21 million net in income went to Wyoming, $8 million net to South Dakota, and $258 million to Nevada. Nearer, more populous states grabbed more income, such as Pennsylvania ($2.5 billion), Virginia ($1 billion), Florida ($7 billion), and California ($1 billion), but NJPP is wrong when they say that people are leaving New Jersey for those Mountain West states and taking their income with them. Projections of future job growth, such as this one, are more in line with the Index map as well.

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