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Between 1969 and 1999, the New York-New Jersey region experienced a steeper drop in manufacturing employment than any other area of the United States. Economists Jason Bram and Michael Anderson trace much of the sharp job decline to the geographic dispersion of manufacturingthat is, the movement of manufacturing activity from the older, more industry-intensive states of the Northeast to the less industrially developed states of the South and West.
The authors maintain that the substantial job losses incurred in recent decades have made New York and New Jersey less dependent on manufacturing and thus less vulnerable to ongoing weakness in this sector. As a result, manufacturing can be expected to place less drag on the regions economy in the years ahead.
In their analysis of the 1969-99 period, the authors show that the phenomenon of dispersion can explain almost all of New Jerseys above-average manufacturing job loss and part of New Yorks. The remainder of New Yorks job decline reflected generally slow growth in overall employment rather than factors specific to the manufacturing sector.
In addition to examining region-wide developments, Bram and Anderson track developments in specific metropolitan areas within New York and New Jersey. They find that New York City and northern New Jersey sustained the sharpest manufacturing job losses during the 1969-99 period, while upstate New Yorks losses were more moderate.