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Don’t Forget The Workers

by | Oct 6, 2011 3:54pm
() Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Business, Town News, Labor, Special Session

Christine Stuart photo

Darlene Herrick of West Hartford

A small group of construction workers, unemployed individuals, and advocates stood outside the Connecticut Convention Center Thursday to welcome those attending Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s “Economic Summit.“

Organized by the Working Families Party, which cross-endorsed Malloy’s gubernatorial bid in 2010, the group was careful to point out that even though they were holding signs—it was not a protest.

“It’s a rally,” Lindsay Farrell, legislative director of Connecticut Working Families, said Thursday.

“Businesses in Connecticut frequently have their voices heard. That’s why Connecticut has the lowest business taxes of all fifty states,“ Farrell said citing a recent study by the Council on State Taxation. “If we want to put Connecticut back to work, it’s time to listen to the needs of working people also.”

The “Economic Summit” featured economists and other national experts on the subject of job creation and economic growth. Farrell said the summit seemed to be focused on how to grow business, not necessarily expand the workforce.

Dave Roche, president of the Connecticut State Building Trades, said he was on Columbus Boulevard Thursday to make sure those attending don’t forget about the workers. He said giving tax breaks to businesses may help, but it’s uncertain if those tax breaks ever help create a job.

Darlene Herrick, 57, of West Hartford said she was standing outside the convention center at 8 a.m. Thursday morning holding a sign because she lost her job.

Herrick said because of her age and experience she’s overqualified for many jobs she’s sought and people like her need a voice equal to the one of big corporations.

“It’s getting serious out there and there are a lot more people like me,” Herrick said.

But she’s not just doing it for herself. She said she also worries about college graduates because there doesn’t seem to be any place for them to go right now.

“This is the first generation in many years that’s not expected to succeed beyond their parents,” Herrick said.

She said people are also holding onto their jobs much longer, those left behind are asked to be more productive, and reduced mobility seems to be an issue. It’s much harder to pack up and start over in another state than it was in past decades.

Herrick’s observations were noted by several economists inside the summit.

Bryan Hancock, a partner in McKinsey & Company, said when you look at employment over time the “jobs engine was broken in the U.S. before the crisis began.” And mobility is the lowest its ever been in 50 years.

The last decade had the worst job growth of any decade since the Great Depression, Hancock said. From 2000 to 2007 there was only a seven percent increase in employment which is less than half of the job growth seen in previous recoveries. He said McKinsey & Company is predicting it will take a total of 60 months to replace the jobs lost in the latest recession. If Hancock is right that means jobs won’t return until mid-2016. 

What caused it?

“One reason that this is changing is employment dynamics,” Hancock said. “In 1973 reduced employment constituted one-third of every percentage point of decline in GDP. Lost productivity was two-thirds. In the last two recessions workers took almost all of the hit. In other words, it was not a loss in productivity, it was a reduction in jobs that resulted in the drop in GDP.” 

Adding insult to injury, the jobs that do come back require new skills, which means the current skills employees have won’t help them find a job.

“We are going to be short 1.5 million college educated workers by 2020,” Hancock said. “We are also going to be short 1.6 million vocational workers.” And there will be a surplus of 6 million high school dropouts for which there won’t be any employment opportunities, he added.

The picture painted may be grim, but Malloy remained optimistic.

“We have heard loud and clear what we need,” Malloy said. “And I have to now tell you that we’ve reached out to all parties, Democrats and Republicans, anyone of good will, who wants to be part of the solution cause I can assure you we’ve identified the problem.”

“There’s not a Republican way of building jobs. There’s not a Democrat way of building jobs. If anything we as a state have proven that we’ve got to get together, and get on the same stage, and get this state moving,” Malloy said.

Malloy is working to reverse two decades of no net new job growth in the state which currently has a 9.1 percent unemployment rate.

“We need to concentrate on making sure we are training the replacement workforce for precision manufacturing in our state,” Malloy said. “Something which we have failed to do over a long period of time probably very much corresponding with our loss in manufacturing.” He also talked about making access to capital easier and reducing bureaucratic hurdles businesses have to climb in order to get into and stay in business.

Sen. Gayle Slossberg, D-Milford, said Thursday’s summit signals a significant cultural shift in the state and sends the message that “in Connecticut we’re serious about being business friendly.”

“This is all about making sure Connecticut starts growing its workforce for the first time in more than 20 years,” Slossberg said. “This is a major shift in that direction.”

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(19) Archived Comments

posted by: Tessa Marquis | October 6, 2011  7:06pm

I attended this dog-and-phony show with high hopes and the best intentions.

Forget it.

The patronizing tone from Harvard Business School’s Michael Porter, via webcam, and the rehashed McKinsey data made this into another pitch for “we broke it but you can hire us to fix it” pseudo-business people.

No mention of our employees’ Health Insurance costs, no mention of lack of affordable housing for working people, and everyone laughed when Porter said that the cost of Electricity would remain high in CT forever.

The bright light was the energetic Scott Case from Startup America who made a point when he asked those who had started their own businesses to stand up. 15? 20? people out of the hundreds attending?

My time would have been better spent at my office, calling clients, and making an income so I could again qualify for paying income tax.

posted by: SocialButterfly | October 6, 2011  8:16pm

The only big business that survives in Connecticut are the Walmart’s and K-Mart’s—selling nearly 100% Chinese merchandise, and China is no longer financing our war-time economy, since we already have a trillion dollars of debt of debt owing to China—“they have us between a rock and a hard-place!”  And China has our jobs, also.  That’s why we aren’t selling any U.S. made merchandise in our stores—as it’s all made in China, with Chines labor. Our leadership has sold out this country.

Gov. Malloy’s “Economic Summit” is a bad political joke!

We don’t have any jobs—aS OUR MNUFACTURING BASE IS OVERSEAS!

posted by: ... | October 7, 2011  12:01am

...

Careful: Manufacturing is over 1/5 of our economy. I’d be hard pressed to believe you (or have anyone believe you) when you say all our manufacturing belongs to the Chinese.

The reason why all the apparel and many of the toys and basic items are made in China is because that is their educational and skill level. Low skilled workers receive low-skilled manufacturing needs. Its why you see Bangladesh, China, and South American countries producing apparel. Its low labor costs, lots of labor provided, and low cost for the factors of production in those countries.

Our nation lacks a population filled with young, unskilled/low-skilled workers. We’re a developed nation where most of the jobs our skills match require and demand higher pay and skill. Unfortunately were in a contracted economy where these jobs are not moving as quickly as we hope.

So as we become a more globalized and still top developed nation, we are receiving items from across the world, not just China. Its basic International Economics and Trade. You should really consider what stores you go to and look at where everything is really made aside Walmart.

posted by: gutbomb86 | October 7, 2011  11:01am

gutbomb86

Yeah that’s just a lot of anti-Malloy negativity and nonsense, Careful. Connecticut has a lot of manufacturing. In fact, Connecticut is a world leader in aerospace and despite a lot of whining about the state’s business climate, a lot of businesses are still coming here and the big aerospace companies like it here as well. Would you rather they gov didn’t try to get the economy moving? You’re always criticizing stuff that’s in your best interest. meh.

posted by: gutbomb86 | October 7, 2011  11:03am

gutbomb86

Well said, Jones.

posted by: Tessa Marquis | October 7, 2011  12:21pm

I am not anti-Malloy. Anything but. I am usually criticized for liking the guy.

“Careful” is an example of confusion about Manufacturing. Manufacturing means more than toys, encompassing pharmaceuticals, food processing, utilities, steel, chemicals, oil refining and distribution, and many other industries. And, yes, Aerospace, BioScience Labs, and the Military-Industrial Complex which feeds a sizable number of CT citizens.

When those who outsourced to other states talk about bringing manufacturing back to CT it is the fox re-hypnotizing the chickens.  I am just fed up with people ignoring the non-Venture Capitalist needs of manufacturers—- basic skills training and development of a workforce that support the plants and facilities, not just the higher level engineers and designers who can’t keep the industrial base running, safe, and clean.

This is similar to another problem we found about 6 years ago when the Trade Schools were teaching software programming to computer dept students, instead of computer security and infrastructure design. One can be outsources and the other cannot.

And, since I am ranting already, there is nothing wrong with outsourcing. Underpaying workers is the real issue. Slave labor in China should end, of course, and will when employers are held accountable worldwide.

OBU baby - One Big Union.

posted by: Martha H | October 7, 2011  9:33pm

Martha H

Thanks for great analysis, Tessa.

posted by: SocialButterfly | October 8, 2011  11:43am

JomesssAC12:  You make a habit out of defending Gov. Malloy, “rated as the worst Governor in the country.”  Why?  He has not brought any aerospace industry into Connecticut?

What industry has Malloy brought into our state?
You must take pride in Malloy—as Walmart is hiring more employees for Christmas —to sell Chinese-made merchandise!

posted by: SocialButterfly | October 8, 2011  3:38pm

Tessa Marquis:  Slave labor in China is tha last item we should be concerned with.  Let’s get concerned with finding jobs for our 9.6% unemployed.  You write a lot, and lose you focus on our own problems, Tessa.

ur establishment worries about the world—- to keep our wartime economy going.  It must end. We all have to start thinking about the United States of America!

posted by: ASTANVET | October 10, 2011  8:08am

jonessAC12 - Low skilled workers receive low-skilled manufacturing needs. Ummm… yes, it is true that low skilled labor does a lot of low skilled manufacturing - i disagree that we lack the population to perform those jobs.  What we see is an unequal playing field, how China is able to produce textiles and ship them to the US when we have the raw materials and abilities to manufacture clothing in the US… it isn’t the “skilled” nature of labor, but the subsidies to china manufacturing enabling them to produce products cheaper than our factories then setting tariffs on other imports to china so that our products do not get to compete.  This is not just the “low skill”, this is at high tech levels too, solar panels is a great example of China manipulation of currency and products through tariffs and subsidy.  Lastly I would say that with 9% of “tracked” unemployment you still think we lack a labor force?? I think there are millions of people wiling to work at what ever job they could get.  Evidence of our disastrous lack of attention on competitiveness as a state is the no job growth numbers in 20 years.  You only need drive from waterbury to willimantic to count the closed factories.  As a state it comes down to incentives for business to start here, move here, or continue to produce here.  What we do with regulations or taxation will determine how successful we are in reversing these issues.

posted by: SocialButterfly | October 10, 2011  9:24am

Tessa Marquis:  You say “slave labor in China should end,” but who can end it?  China basically owns this country—so we are a “paper tiger,” over-in-debt to China—in financing our “winless wars!”

The proof of the eating is:  We went into Iraq to get the oil, but China gets all the oil coming out of Iraq!

We sacrificed our troops, and mortgaged our great grandchildren—for the sick “wartime prosperity—
we are still continuing!”

And, our National Debt continues to soar, which is a killer for any job growth in Connecticut, or elsewhere.  on top of that, China undervalues their currency—to further bury us economically.

posted by: SocialButterfly | October 10, 2011  11:16am

Tessa Marquis:  Sen Richard Blumenthal says the U. S. trade deficit cost an estimated 31,600 jobs in Connecticut over the past decade. 

Forget about child labor in China —which we cannot resolve.

posted by: ... | October 10, 2011  11:30am

...

Careful. Your comment to me is completely irrelevant. Just as you have your common ‘quotes’ and Malloy bashing on every story he is in, I do have my patterns as well on this site. So why not leave it at that and just talk about the issues? It’s honestly going around in circles.

I’ll answer your question though. I support Malloy because I do believe he, his administration are trying to do what they feel is best to recover from this recession. I may not agree with all of it, and plenty of people don’t. But to sit back and just complain about every little thing is neither productive or helpful to solving problems.

ASTANVET: Totally agree there is a population that ‘could’ do it. But as we are seeing in the South because of their immigration policies, farmers are losing productivity and profits because their lower skilled labor (legal or illegal) are leaving because of what they believe are racially motivated pieces of legislation. Why is there a loss of productivity? Because despite numerous ads, many farmers are not getting any interest. This will be an anecdote from a conversation I had with a veteran and his wife while at a barber shop this past weekend, but it rings true to our society:

“For the most part, young kids today do not want to break their back or bust their butt for a days work. They want the easy life. And it’s not meant to be that way.”

I’ll continue though that you’re failing to consider the costs of production in your analysis of how we can make things here. We do make items like clothing in the U.S. and then they sell for 10-20 dollars more than a shirt made in Bangladesh or China. They’re not getting lucrative subsidies like our agricultural businesses do. They simply have lower costs and lower regulations, making their goods cheaper.

The issue of developing higher tech goods? They still do it at fractions of the cost we do. But because of their booming economy and government surpluses, they have the ability to invest much more than we do.

But here is the silver lining for the U.S. Astanvet: Those jobs are coming back. Here is a video story that discusses it.

I like you hope that this generation does get back into the ‘back busting’ labor and industry that helped make our country great and strong.

posted by: SocialButterfly | October 10, 2011  4:20pm

JonessAC12:  I acknowledge your answer—that Gov. Malloy is trying to do his job—in an attempt to get us out of a fiscal dilemma.  However, until Malloy starts taking—a step forward—rather than two steps backward—in his job performance, “I will gladly share your very slight praise of our Governor!”

posted by: GoatBoyPHD | October 10, 2011  4:59pm

GoatBoyPHD

Random thoughts:
————————————
Tessa: Infrastrucure design and security is going to the cloud and cloud hosting can be anywhere. There are companies who won’t let their data off site, but others are accepting it as the most efficient solution to the glut of infrastructure and security designers they created.

It’s as simple as saying when the work is done in-house it requires expensive documentation, project lifecycles,  and project approval.

When its a service purchased from an approved vendor it’s a phone call and a PO. Done.

None of the silly BS meetings between the business unit and IT staff occur. The Business Unt knows they aren’t telling the cloud company how to run their business. It’s amazing how people act differently under those circumstances.

It’s like buying MS Word. Users take it and just shut up.

Internal software design? 6 months later and business users are still arguing about the placement of an icon and a color and often fight the whole process.

The best part of the cloud and outsourcing software: it eliminates departments like DOIT when done properly.
———————————

Here’s the sad reality: no ones solved the sad reality that high wages and a high cost of living are a competitive disadvantage. This can be made up by natural resources or educated human capital. My guestimate: CT will spiral into a deflationawy wage and housing decline and more residents will become plumbers, electricians, builders, farmers, and realize that there are local services that are irreplaceable.

Hi tech? The sheer number of engineers that will get turned out in India and China will make a mockery of the US engineering advantage in short order.

High Tech? Other nations will have fewer regulations than the US on animal testing and human testing of genetic change.


I’m not a doom and gloomer but I fail to see any lasting US competitive advantage except immigrant labor in Texas and cheap land in the South West that can buy some time. The North East? Wait until NYC is no longer the financial capitla or an entertainment capital.

In the meantime: let’s support Jackson Labs and their mutant mice and animal torture! That’s CT’s future. Creating Test Animals for Cancer Labs.

posted by: ASTANVET | October 10, 2011  4:59pm

JONES - you are absolutely right about the current working generation, i would consider myself in that group.  We were taught and drilled for years about getting a “white collar job” and the baby boomers cry about wanting to retire at 55 so they can live it up… it’s all part of the same problem.  But it will not change until there are changes in our society that come from cutting off the “support” or economic bubble we create by all these “safety net” programs.  99 weeks unemployment??? where is the incentive to get back to work, and where is the incentive from the employer to hire?  True, there may not be many that want to work on the farm, or in a textile mill, but if you don’t have welfare, you don’t have 99 weeks of unemployment they will take that over pan handling I think.  My point for the competitiveness wasn’t a lack of attention to the cost of producing goods, quite the contrary, it is JUST that - that’s about our regulation and our taxes.  The fact that china can produce goods and put them on an expensive ship to send them to us is cheaper than us growing the cotton, making the cloth here at a textile mill and producing jeans or t-shirts (wigets, it doesn’t matter the product) is a testament to our stupidity about trade, and our laziness about being competitive.  we are resigned to be a third world nation because it is what “we the people” have legislated. 

Careful, you’re not very dialed in on the issues… if you thought Iraq was about the oil, i have one question.  Has the US taken one single barrel of oil from Iraq?? even to put the fuel in the vehicles we used in Iraq??? i’ll save you the google search.  the answer is no, so you can stop getting your talking points on iraq from Jon Stewart and MSNBC.  It was never about oil.

posted by: ... | October 10, 2011  6:56pm

...

(A side note: My apologies for the poor writing of my previous post. I didn’t give it a look over and was in a rush to grab some lunch) I wanted to concede to you Astanvet I did not properly explain the CT economic issue. I was explaining the broader, macroeconomic issues and discussions of the United States.

I agree with you though on the need to revise and examine regulations, which I am certain is on the agenda for this Fall. I’ve already heard around that the BET (business entity tax) might be dismantled and no longer collected after this budget cycle completes. I sure hope it does, because that would be a symbolic door opening for businesses.

posted by: Disgruntled | October 11, 2011  9:56am

“Malloy is working to reverse two decades of no net new job growth in the state which currently has a 9.1 percent unemployment rate.”

And it begins at home! Always.

Meanwhile,unemployment benefits are set to run out in January for MILLIONS of Americans while politicians feast on the body politic.
Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care of Southwestern Connecticut will cease to exist after 100 years,in Stamford,so that insurance executives can pull in multi-million dollar compensation.
And hedge funds are sweet-talked into setting up shop in Greenwich so that they can suck the life out of the markets.
Connecticut is OPEN FOR BUSINESS!

posted by: SocialButterfly | October 12, 2011  9:12am

Disgruntled:  “How is Gov. Malloy working to reverse two decades of no new net job growth in the state?”

I have personally found no results of the Governor’s work - to back up the your unexplained statement.
Please explain. Thank you.