Deputy Freeholder Director Christopher D. Rafano
Chair, Administration and Finance Committee


Middlesex County Ranks No. 1 in Dollar Amount of Building Permits Issued in 2008

Residential and Non-Residential Construction
 Outpaces County’s 2007 Numbers


MARCH 13, 2009 -- Middlesex County ranks No. 1 in New Jersey for dollar amount of residential and non-residential construction authorized by building permits for the first 11 months of 2008, according to the latest figures available from the State.

According to Construction Reporter, a book published by the State Department of Community Affairs, Middlesex County’s building permits totaled $1.34 billion for the period, representing an increase of about $292 million in construction activity over the same period in 2007. The 11-month 2008 total also is $168 million higher than the activity authorized in all of 2007.

“What these numbers tell us is that Middlesex County is in a strong position to weather the economic crisis being experienced nationwide,” said Freeholder Christopher D. Rafano, chair of the County’s Administration and Finance Committee. “An increase in the number of authorized building permits represents the promise of an increase in good-paying construction jobs, exactly what is being targeted by the Federal Stimulus Package.”

Rafano said he believes the diversity of the County’s businesses – with jobs in the pharmaceutical, healthcare, service and educational sectors – translates to a stronger outlook. “We do not rely heavily on just one industry or sector like Detroit or Silicon Valley.”

Traditionally, Middlesex County has enjoyed a lower unemployment rate than the rest of the state. The latest figures show Middlesex County has an unemployment rate that is 10 percent lower than New Jersey’s unemployment rate.

Looking toward the future, Rafano said the southern part of the county will see growth when Princeton Medical Center opens its new campus in Plainsboro. High-paying healthcare jobs and jobs for ancillary services will be created as a result of the project. He also pointed to Rutgers University’s 600,000-square-foot Gateway transit village project in the heart of downtown New Brunswick.

“The projects being built bring construction jobs now and jobs in a number of sectors later. They also bring new business and raise the quality of life of the people who live here. That’s good news for our taxpayers,” Rafano said.