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Forecast Shows Slow Growth for CT

by Jacqueline Wattles | May 23, 2013 2:56pm
(2) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Business, Economics, Jobs, Labor

The Connecticut economy is projected to continue its recovery, reaching a pre-recession “normal” by 2017, but the state’s economy may continue to lag behind the levels of growth seen in other states and the nation, according to the New England Economic Partnership’s semi-annual economic forecast.

The report, which was released by NEEP — a non-profit conglomerate of regional economists — on Wednesday, said Connecticut had regained 40.1 percent of the 121,000 jobs it lost during the recession as of February, but the national rate of recovery was around 66 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate in Connecticut is 8 percent, compared to 7.7 percent nationally, but the economists projected that it will take four years to reach a pre-recession level 5.7 percent.

Significant gains were made in trade, professional service, education, hospitality, and health jobs. The hospitality sector alone added 4,300 jobs since February last year. But the construction, manufacturing, and financial service industries saw net losses, particularly the manufacturing sector, which lost 2,600.

NEEP will present the report at their Spring Economic Outlook Conference today in Boston.

NEEP’s report indicated that Massachusetts and Vermont are seeing the strongest overall economic recovery, while Rhode Island and Vermont are continuing to lag behind. NEEP economists suggested economic conditions continue to be affected by federal sequestration and a poor economic state in Europe.

NEEP uses economic models prepared by Economy.com to prepare its economic forecasts and produces the reports twice yearly. The Spring Economic Outlook Conference will be hosted by the New England Council and held at the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston today from 9 a.m to 2 p.m.

At the state Capitol Wednesday, Connecticut Business and Industry Association Executive Vice President of Policy Joseph Brennan said despite the loss of manufacturing jobs in Connecticut the industry has elicited renewed national focus in recent years.

“When you have a service-based economy, you’re not really generating anything new. It’s just money trading hands” Brennan said. “Manufacturers sell outside the state and overseas. That’s how you grow.” He added that manufacturing jobs also carry a “multiplier effect,” meaning each manufacturing job can generate four more jobs in support services.

Steven Lanza, the executive editor of The Connecticut Economy and an economics professor at the University of Connecticut, said that even after decades of declines in job rates for the state’s manufacturing industry, the sector may prove to be the state’s most dynamic and promising. Lanza developed a system of comparing Connecticut’s manufacturing industry with other states nationwide, and found it to be among the most promising.

“Connecticut owes its high [rank] to impressive scores in employee compensation and a concentration in technological sophistication,” Lanza told UConn Today. “These attributes offer promise that the manufacturing industry will continue to be a cornerstone of the state’s economy in the 21st century.”

However, Brennan said Connecticut still has a tough environment for growing these types of jobs because of its high energy and labor costs, but Connecticut is at the forefront of developing a type of manufacturing technology known as additive manufacturing or 3D printing. Brennan added that manufacturers in the state have been working to attract younger workers of the workforce.

“Connecticut manufacturers are working hard to raise awareness,” Brennan said. “Connecticut is highly-trained and has a high-quality workforce. Some people don’t think of manufacturing as a career option.”

But Brennan added that the modern manufacturing industry looks significantly different from the one the U.S. began exporting 40 years ago. He said facilities are “quieter, cleaner, and computer driven” and make use of robotics.

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(2) Comments

posted by: Just another CT resident | May 23, 2013  4:12pm

The report also highlights the problems and obstacles imposed by our state which will continue to hamper any recovery until they are corrected. 
The list includes:
- The [poor] condition of the state’s transportation and utility infrastructure;
- State’s 44th place ranking Business Competitiveness Index;
- State’s 40th place ranking in Business Tax Climate Index;
- High energy costs;
- High labor costs;
- Shortage of key labor skills
- The effects of the sequester on CT’s defense manufacturing;
- Economic weakness in major export markets;
- Reduced need for Connecticut defense equipment;
- Potential relocation firearms manufacturers

So I would like to know what our elected officials are doing to remedy many of the obstacles imposed by the state. A follow up article on what our Governor is doing to create a better and more attractive business climate in the state.
Just a thought.

posted by: artythesmarty | June 4, 2013  12:16pm

with the exception lower Fairfield Cty Connecticut’s high compensation is by and large a result of public sector pay.  As one example(there are many) in Hamden the average police pay is 96k and fire pay is 95k(according to ctsunlight)- same true in Fairfield, Stratford, etc.  This drives the economy with truck purchases, dinners out etc-the average pay in these towns is about 40k(private sec) so who can buy anything.  Same on the shoreline, teachers dominate the summer(Hartford area) and golf courses, restaurants(look at the W Hartford, Avon BOE stickers)..where would business be with public sector spending.  This is the only thing keeping Conn going.