State of Connecticut

The Comptroller's Report Nancy Wyman - State Comptroller

Connecticut's Workers Among Most Productive in Nation

Diverse, Well-Educated Workforce Poises State for Economic Recovery

With one of the most productive and diverse workforces in the nation, Connecticut is well positioned to resume a course of economic expansion.

According to the Connecticut Department of Labor, worker productivity in the state is 23 percent above the national average. The state's workforce is highly educated and well trained. Connecticut ranks third nationally in the percent of population over age 25 who hold a bachelors degree or higher.

This robust level of productivity and advanced education results in high wages. Connecticut ranks first in the nation in average annual pay, with an average salary of over $45,000.

The state's industrial base with its 93,000 business establishments has diversified over the last decade. While defense and insurance continue to be important industries, the state's economic development is increasingly tied to industries such as bioscience, software development, pharmaceuticals, communications and medical technology. 

A federal Department of Labor survey put the number of high-tech workers in the state at 77,500 in 2000, up 23 percent from 1994. Connecticut ranks fifth among all states in the percentage of workers employed in technology occupations.

Connecticut also benefits economically from its geography, especially its location between the financial centers of Boston and New York. More than one quarter of the total population of the United States and 60 percent of the Canadian population lives within 500 miles of Connecticut. Over 30 percent of the nation's effective buying income, retail sales, and manufacturing firms are within a day's drive of the state.

Connecticut has an extensive network of expressways and arterial highways providing access to regional markets. In 2001 the state legislature made a major financial commitment to reducing congestion on the state's roads and highways. Bradley International Airport is strategically situated for overseas airfreight operations and has been continually upgraded to keep pace with service needs.

Connecticut provides financial assistance to all urban and rural bus services operating in the state. Railroad freight service is provided to most major towns and cities in the state, and connections are provided with major eastern railroads and Canadian markets. Rail commuter service operates between New Haven and New York City and connecting points, as well as between New London and New Haven. The state's harbors at Bridgeport, New Haven and New London can accommodate deep draft vessels.

Still, Connecticut's economy moves in the same general cycles as the national economy. At times, the state is ahead of national economic trends, at times we lag behind. As of this writing, Connecticut and the nation were moving through a period of economic recession.

According to preliminary estimates by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which measures the output of goods and services produced in the United States, declined in the third quarter of 2001. This comes after virtually no growth in GDP in the second quarter. Over the last five years, real GDP had expanded at an average annual rate of just over 4 percent.

The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that studies peaks and troughs in the business cycle, declared in November 2001 that the country had entered into recession in March 2001. This marked the end of a historic ten-year period of economic expansion. On a positive note, the NBER stated: "Expansion is the normal state of the economy; most recessions are brief and they have been rare in recent decades."

The information that follows in this section examines Connecticut's economic life: where we work, what we earn, and how we spend our income. It shows a fundamentally prosperous economy that is struggling through a current period of recession but is poised to resume its historic pattern of strong growth.

Employment

 

Table of Non-Farm 
Job Gain/Loss and percent Change Totals for Connecticut and the United States. 
Click here for a text representation of this table.

Bar Graph of Unemployment Rates for Connecticut and the United States. 
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Connecticut's Employment Distribution by Industry. Click here for a text description of this chart.

Income

Per Capita Personal Income 
for Connecticut and the United States 
and
Connecticut's Comparative Advantage
Year Connecticut United States % Above The
United States
1995 $31,423 $23,272 35.0%
1996 $32,814 $24,286 35.1%
1997 $34,803 $25,427 36.9%
1998 $37,190 $26,909 38.2%
1999 $38,506 $27,859 38.2%
2000 $40,870 $29,451 38.8%
SOURCE: Bureau of Economic Analysis, 10/19/01 release

 

Personal Income Growth for Connecticut and the United States. Click here for a text description of this chart.

 

 
Real (inflation adjusted) Median Household Income and Growth Rate for Connecticut and the United States. Click here for a text representation of this table.

 

Other Economic Measures

   Retail Trade In Connecticut by Industry and Fiscal Year. Click here for a text representation of this table.