Fortune 500: How does N.J. rate with its competitor states? Not great

Call it the Fortune 500 afterparty.

After scanning the list of companies in New Jersey that made the prestigious Fortune 500 — New Jersey had 15 in the list released Wednesday — you can bet most people checked out how New Jersey ranks with the states that many companies compare New Jersey with.

First, you have to identify the states.

For the Northeast, we selected Pennsylvania and Massachusetts (too-big New York is not in our size category). Nationwide, we picked North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee — three Sun Belt states that have been trying to lure Northeast companies for some time.

Here are the number of companies in 2021:

  • Pennsylvania: 24;
  • Massachusetts: 18;
  • Georgia: 18;
  • New Jersey: 15;
  • North Carolina: 13;
  • Tennessee: 10.

The numbers in Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Pennsylvania are surprisingly similar when you go back five and 15 years.

The same can’t be said for New Jersey and Massachusetts. These states appear to be going in opposite directions. Consider:


  • New Jersey: 19;
  • Massachusetts: 12.


  • New Jersey: 22;
  • Massachusetts: 9.

Tom Bracken, the CEO of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, said New Jersey needs to work to reverse this trend — and he feels the state is in position to do so now.

“To be very candid about it, with all this money we have from the American Rescue Plan and the budget surplus, we have an enormous opportunity right now to invest that money into our economy to get that momentum back,” he said.

“We’ve been saying for years that New Jersey has to find a way to be more competitive, to be more attractive and to leverage our assets.”

It’s possible, Bracken said.

“We arguably are blessed with the greatest array of assets in the country, starting with our location, which is as good as any state in the country,” he said. “To drop from 22 to 15 is a pretty significant drop.

“We have to leverage those assets, which are all still here, and get back to that competitive position where we were.”

Here’s a look at the 15 New Jersey companies that made the Fortune 500 in 2021:

No. 36: Johnson & Johnson (New Brunswick)
No. 55: Prudential Financial (Newark)
No. 65: Merck (Kenilworth)
No. 177: Becton Dickinson (Franklin Lakes)
No. 185: Cognizant (Teaneck)
No. 203: PBF Energy (Parsippany)
No. 208: ADP (Roseland)
No. 280: Bed Bath & Beyond (Union)
No. 318: PSEG (Newark)
No. 324: Quest (Secaucus)
No. 335: Campbell Soup (Camden)
No. 431: Zoetis (Parsippany)
No. 445: Realogy (Madison)
No. 471: Burlington Stores (Burlington)
No. 498: Avis Budget Group (Parsippany)

And here’s a look at the 12 New Jersey companies that missed the Fortune 500 but made the Fortune 1,000:

No. 535: Church & Dwight
No. 604: Conduent
No. 616: Mahwah Bergen Retail Group
No. 640: American Water Works
No. 728: Catalent
No. 761: Selective Insurance Group
No. 788: Verisk Analytics
No. 885: Hovnanian Enterprises
No. 956: Amneal Pharmaceuticals
No. 967: B&G Foods
No. 972: New Jersey Resources
No. 985: Covanta Holding