The Connecticut Economic Digest, assessing the prospects for the state’s economy in the new year, has unveiled a series of observations and analyses that suggest it may be a challenging twelve months, but not without the possibility of progress, and an overall prediction of “modest growth”. The first issue of 2013 of the journal produced by the state Departments of Labor and Department of Community and Economic Development, notes a range of factors that could impact economic prospects, among them:
- Tourism: "Last year the state launched a multi-million-dollar, two-year marketing initiative to develop, foster and stimulate the state’s brand identity and bolster business and tourism. Tourism has a significant impact on the state’s economy, estimated by the University of Connecticut’s Center for Economic Analysis at $11.5 billion every year through total traveler and tourism revenue and $1.15 billion in state and local tax revenue. Travel and tourism creates more than 110,000 jobs throughout the state, or 6.5% of Connecticut’s total employment."
- Large businesses: "The state’s “First Five” and “Next Five” job initiatives have promised substantial growth in employment and capital investment in Connecticut. At year’s end, nine business deals had been announced as part of the ongoing expansion program, which leveraged $1.3 billion in private investment. Between the nine companies — Cigna, ESPN, NBC, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, CareCentrix, Sustainable Building Systems LLC, Deloitte, Bridgewater Associates, and Charter Communications — up to 4,748 jobs are expected to be created and 11,087 retained."
- Small Businesses: "The Small Business Express Program (EXP) provides loans and grants to Connecticut’s small businesses to spur job creation and growth and has seen vigorous activity since its inception. The state has assisted 435 companies with more than $60 million in loans and grants. With this much-needed capital, up to 1,523 jobs are expected to be created and 4,080 retained."
- Housing: "The state’s housing market languished in 2011. Residential permit data through September 2012, however, had grown by 32.2% compared to the same period the previous year. New homes sales grew 5.7% in September, and housing starts 3.6% in October, the highest level in four years."
The Digest noted that “the Connecticut recession from March 2008 through February 2010 saw the loss of 117,500 jobs. Jobs regained numbered 30,700 (26.1%) since February 2010 when the recovery began through November 2012, including 1,900 in the year 2012 through November (0.12%) seasonally adjusted since the beginning of the year. The private sector has regained 42,000 (38.1%) of the 110,200 private jobs lost in that same recessionary period.” It is forecast that Connecticut will gain about 5,600 jobs or 0.3% in 2013.
In addition, the Digest pointed out that “The state’s unemployment rate, after peaking at 9.4% for five consecutive months in 2010 and falling rather steadily to 7.7% in March and April 2012, jumped unexpectedly through last summer to 9.0% and declined to 8.8% in November.” The New England Economic Partnership forecasts Connecticut’s unemployment rate will be 7.7 % in 2013.