(Bloomberg) -- The Garden State is making gains on Hollywood. 

Spending on film production in New Jersey soared to more than $650 million last year, easily topping the $500 million record set in 2021, Governor Phil Murphy’s office said in a statement Tuesday. The industry created 8,500 jobs in the state in 2022, a number that is expected to grow significantly.

“These productions, plus the recent addition of some top-tier studio development projects, will continue to drive economic activity and create many thousands of employment opportunities for New Jerseyans,” Secretary of State Tahesha Way said in the statement. 

Murphy in December announced that Netflix Inc. will turn the former Fort Monmouth military base into a production center. The company disclosed a bid of $55 million for the parcel, with a planned $848 million investment for construction of a dozen sound stages.

The Democratic governor, in California this week to meet with executives in the entertainment and technology industries, has been advertising his state as a filming hub. The retired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. senior director in 2021 expanded an industry tax credit that he had enacted in 2018, his first year as governor.

Major New Jersey productions last year included The Walking Dead: Dead City, a spinoff of the AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. zombie franchise, which filmed in East Rutherford in August.

Even as the industry grows, New Jersey is still far behind its neighbor: A 2021 report showed New York City’s film and television productions accounted for about $64 billion in economic output.

--With assistance from Elise Young.

(Updates with Netflix deal in fourth paragraph)

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