CT Employers Less Optimistic About Hiring in First Quarter

Employers nationwide are slightly more optimistic about hiring in the first quarter of 2017 than employers in Connecticut, according to the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey, although both expect to hire at a favorable pace during the first quarter of 2017. From January to March, 17 percent of Connecticut companies interviewed plan to hire more employees, while 7 percent expect to reduce their payrolls. Another 73 percent expect to maintain their current workforce levels and 3 percent are not certain of their hiring plans. This yields a Net Employment Outlook* of 10 percent.

For the coming quarter, job prospects appear best in Durable Goods Manufacturing, Nondurable Goods Manufacturing, Transportation & Utilities, Wholesale & Retail Trade, Financial Activities, Professional & Business Services, Education & Health Services, Leisure & Hospitality and Government. Employers in Construction, Information and Other Services plan to reduce staffing levels.

“Hiring intentions are weaker compared to Q4 2016 when the Net Employment Outlook was 12%,” said ManpowerGroup spokesperson Betty Gooding said about the Connecticut outlook. “The hiring pace is expected to pick up compared to one year ago when the Net Employment Outlook was 8%.” Of the more than 11,000 employers surveyed in the United States, 19 percent expect to add to their workforces, and 6 percent expect a decline in their payrolls during Quarter 1 2017. Seventy-three percent of employers anticipate making no change to staff levels, and the remaining 2 percent of employers are undecided about their hiring plans.

When seasonal variations are removed from the data, the Net Employment Outlook is +16 percent, a slight decrease compared to the Quarter 4 2016 Outlook, +18 percent.  That’s a somewhat more optimistic view than employers in Connecticut, the survey found.

MA Overtakes CT, Jobs on Horizon for EB - Bad News, Good News for State Economy

Connecticut is “in a rut”according to one regional newspaper, while another is reporting on plans by a local company to hire 14,000 workers during the next decade.  Bad news and good news, simultaneously. “Ten years ago, it was the undisputed economic king of New England, with average incomes 13 percent higher than Massachusetts and 40 percent above third-ranked New Hampshire,” the Boston Globe's data reporter says of Connecticut.  “Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, low- and middle-wage workers in Connecticut consistently took home bigger paychecks than their Massachusetts peers.  In the past few years all these economic advantages have disappeared. Unemployment is now far lower in Massachusetts. And Bay State employees get the best wages — whether you look at low-earners, top-earners, or those in the middle.”

The Globe cites recent housing data to underscore the point.

“Of all the cities tracked by the National Association of Realtors, 90 percent have seen their housing prices rise since 2010. That leaves just 17 metropolitan areas still trying to claw back from the recession. Four of those underwater markets are in Connecticut — and they extend to virtually every corner of the state, from Stamford in the southwest to New London in the east and as far north as Hartford.”economy

“Among the biggest changes in the Massachusetts economy,” the Globe column points out, “has been the explosion of professional, scientific, and technical services — think architects, engineers, software designers, consultants, and scientific researchers. Since 2000, this sector has grown by nearly 50 percent in Massachusetts, which is a key reason the state as a whole has performed so well. In Connecticut, these same fields have expanded by just 6 percent.”

Globe reporter Evan Horowitz, who writes the paper’s Quick Study column using data to discuss policy,  notes that “without a hub like Boston, Connecticut can’t simply pull pages from the Massachusetts playbook.”  He suggests that “a Trump-fueled surge in corporate profits and stock valuations could provide a much-needed boost to the state’s fortunes. But if there’s one lesson of recent years, it’s that counting on Wall Street excess to compensate for other economic ills is a dangerous strategy; bubbles burst, recessions happen, and in the absence of a long-term economic strategy, Connecticut could once again find itself floundering.”

A brighter ray of potential economic sunshine is reported by the Day of New London, outlining plans by General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton for a massive decade-long hiring spree resulting from an increase in submarine orders by the U.S. Navy, spurred by “strong Congressional support.”

chart“The company will hire 14,000 new employees over the next 13 years,” the Day reports.  “Those employees will fill new positions and those being vacated by retirees and those who leave for other reasons. The burst in new hires will take EB from its workforce of 14,500 today to 18,000 in 2030.  This year alone, the company hired 1,600 new full-time employees. Another 800 received conditional job offers and are in the process of applying for a security clearance or awaiting that clearance.”

Reporter Julia Bergman indicates that “six different submarines are currently under construction there. Another is in for its ‘50,000 mile checkup.’ And an eighth is undergoing a major overhaul.”

The work – and the jobs – extend beyond EB.sub

“While the engineering workforce has neared its peak, EB will continue to hire a larger number of shipyard personnel such as welders, machinists, and electricians,” the Day reports. “About 40 percent of this year’s new hires were tradespeople.”  Training programs and local colleges are straining to meet the demand, the newspaper reports.

Underscoring the importance of healthcare to Connecticut’s economy, there is a new number one employer (by number of employees) in the state, according to published reports.  A year ago, United Technologies was the largest employer in Connecticut, according to 24/7 Wall Street.  After selling its helicopter division, Sikorsky, UTC’s employee headcount dropped from around 24,500 to an estimated 16,000. With 20,396 total employees, Yale New Haven Health is now the largest employer in Connecticut, the publication notes.  Yale New Haven Health includes Bridgeport HospitalGreenwich HospitalYale New Haven HospitalYale New Haven Children's HospitalSmilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven and Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital.  The Hartford Business Journal last year ranked Hartford Healthcare, with 18,000 employees, just behind Yale New Haven Health.  Hartford Healthcare acute care facilities include Backus HospitalHartford HospitalThe Hospital of Central ConnecticutMidState Medical Center and Windham Hospital.

CT Businesses Expect More Hiring During 2nd Quarter, Survey Says

Employers in Connecticut expect to hire at a respectable pace during the second quarter of 2016, which began on April 1, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey. From April to June, 19 percent of the companies interviewed plan to hire more employees, while 6 percent expect to reduce their payrolls. Another 75 percent expect to maintain their current workforce levels. This yields a Net Employment Outlook of 13 percent, according to the Survey.

“Hiring intentions are stronger compared to Q1 2016 when the Net Employment Outlook was 8 percent,” said Manpower spokesperson Becca Dernberger. “The hiring pace is expected to slow down compared to one year ago when the Net Employment Outlook was 19 percent.”

Q2CTFor the quarter just underway, job prospects appear best in Construction, Durable Goods Manufacturing, Transportation & Utilities, Wholesale & Retail Trade, Information, Financial Activities, Professional & Business Services, Education & Health Services, Leisure & Hospitality and Other Services. Employers in Nondurable Goods Manufacturing plan to reduce staffing levels, while hiring in Government is expected to remain unchanged, according to the projections.

Plans for potentially massive state employee layoffs, now anticipated in the coming weeks, had not been announced when the survey was conducted.

In the Northeast, the expectations are somewhat better than in Connecticut, as 21 percent  of employers surveyed plan to increase staff levels during Quarter 2 2016 while 4 percent expect a decrease in payrolls, resulting in a Net Employment Outlook of +17 percent.

Among Connecticut’s largest municipalities, the net employment outlook for Q2 includes 14 percent in Bridgeport, 13 percent in Hartford and 11percent in New Haven.  Survey results were developed for the 100 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas, based on business establishment count.  Leading the list were Charlotte and Omaha at 29 percent, followed by Albany and Boise City and 28 percent, Dallas and Providence and 27 percent, and Phoenix and Toledo at 26 percent.

The Net Employment Outlook is derived by taking the percentage of employers anticipating an increase in hiring activity and subtracting from this the percentage of employers expecting a decrease in hiring activity.hiring_now

Of the more than 11,000 employers surveyed in the United States, 22 percent expect to add to their workforces, and 4 percent expect a decline in their payrolls during Quarter 2 2016. Seventy-two percent of employers anticipate making no change to staff levels, and the remaining 2 percent of employers are undecided about their hiring plans. When seasonal variations are removed from the data, the Net Employment Outlook is +16 percent, relatively stable compared to the Quarter 1 2016 Outlook, +17 percent.

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is conducted quarterly to measure employers’ intentions to increase or decrease the number of employees in their workforces during the next quarter. The weakest outlook for 2016 Q2 are projected in Youngstown, Akron, Baton Rouge, and Las Vegas.

“The U.S. labor market is strong compared to the global situation, with the economy still generating a sufficient number of jobs to keep the unemployment rate down,” said Kip Wright, Senior Vice President, Manpower North America. “However, we now live in a world of ‘certain uncertainty,’ where increased volatility may be here to stay. As a result, organizations and individuals need to be more agile in order to better adapt to this rapidly evolving environment, and a key differentiator to success is attracting and developing the right skills.”

US outlook

Higher Percentage of Part-time Workers in CT Than New York, New Jersey, Lower Than New England

Connecticut's percentage of part-time workers (22.2 percent) outpaces much of the Northeast, South, Midwest and West, according to the latest Connecticut Economic Digest (CED), produced by the state Department of Labor and Department of Economic and Community Development. In the first examination of part-time employment in more than a decade, the publication noted that part-time employment in Connecticut numbered 383,000 - 69.5 percent of which (266,000) was women. This statewide share is among the highest in the country, which had a 50-state average of 64 percent.

part time chartConnecticut’s part-time employment share of 22.2 percent is the lowest in New England but considerably greater than neighboring states in the tri-state area, which have employment shares respectively of 17.6 percent (New York) and 17.9 percent (New Jersey), the analysis by the state Department of Labor indicated.

Part-time employment is all employment that amounts to less than 35 hours per week. Since 1997 it has averaged about 20 percent of total employment in Connecticut and fell to 18.6 percent in 2000, according to the CED, before climbing.

In recent years it has gradually trended upward and was 22.2 percent of employment in 2012, the most recent year of annual average datCEDa and the basis for the analysis. The breakdown of hours worked shows that Connecticut has less under 35 hours per week employment than other New England states but more than the Northeast region overall. Part-time employment was 23.3% of all New England employment in 2012, higher than any other census division in the country. The other eight census divisions averaged 19.3% with the West- South Central division lowest at 16.4%.

While those choosing to work part time remain the bulk of part-time workers, the number of those working less than full time has grown since 2005 as more workers have their hours cut by employers or were unable to find full-time jobs during or after the recession. From 2009 to 2011, the number of workers who wanted full-time employment but could only find part-time jobs rose 37.5 percent to 33,000 from 24,000, Hartford Business Journal reported. part time 2

The report points out, however, that a majority of part-time employment in Connecticut is due to voluntary reasons, and not a result of prevailing economic conditions. In 2012, voluntary part-time employment in Connecticut was 76.4 percent of all part-time employment, in line with the 50-state average of 76.8 percent.

The industries with the lowest average weekly hours worked are leisure and hospitality, other services, and education and health services. In 2013, these industries averaged 25.8, 30.9, and 31.2 work hours per week, according to the Connecticut Economic Digest report issued in May.


New Haven Ranks as Best Connecticut City for Jobs

The Best Cities for Jobs in America? They’re generally not in Connecticut, according to a new national analysis, but a number of the states' leading metropolitan areas are moving up the list compared with their counterparts across the country. The New Haven, Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, and Norwich-New London metropolitan areas all edged up the list compared with their rankings a year ago. Danbury dropped slightly. Hartford-East Hartford-West Hartford’s ranking was virtually unchanged.

The rankings of the nation’s cities was developed by the website newgeography, and published this week.

Among 92 Medium Sibestcities2014zed Cities that were ranked, New Haven ranked #42 (up from #65 last year) and Bridgeport-Norwalk-Stamfordnew haven ranked at #58 (up from #85 last year) and saw the 10th largest advance among the medium sized cities.

Danbury ranked #122 (down from #111 last year) and Norwich-New London at #231 (up from #233 last year) among 240 Small Sized Cities that were analyzed.

In the rankings of the nation’s Large Sized Cities, the Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford region ranked #48, nearly identical to last year’s ranking of #47. The top rated cities included San Jose, San Francisco, Austin, Raleigh, Houston, Nashville, New York City, Orlando, Dallas and Denver.

This year's rankings use five measures of growth to rank all 398 metro areas for which full data sets were available from the past 10 years.

  • "Large" areas include those with a current nonfarm employment base of at least 450,000 jobs.
  • "Midsize" areas range from 150,000 to 450,000 jobs.
  • "Small" areas have as many as 150,000 jobs. This year’s rankings reflect the current size of each MSAs employment.

Among all 398 cities, New Haven and Danbury were the highest ranked from Connecticut, at #207 and #208 respectively. New Haven jumped 50 places in the overall ranking compared with last year; Danbury dropped 11 slots from a year ago.

The top-ranked city overall was Bismarck, North Dakota, which ranked first out of the 398 metro areas considered in the annual roundup of The Best Cities For Jobs. A metro area of 120,000 located in the country’s fastest-growing state and near the vast Bakken oil fields, the number of jobs in Bismarck is up 3 percent over the last year and 32.4 percent since 2002. Only one MSA—Modesto, CA—changed size categories moving from “Small” to “Midsized.”

The methodology for the 2014 rankings, according to newgeography, largely corresponds to that used in previous years, which emphasizes the robustness of a region's growth both recently and over time, with a minor addition to mitigate the volatility that the Great Recession has introduced into the time series. The rankings use five measures of growth to rank all 398 metro areas for which full data sets were available from the past 10 years.

The goal of the rankings methodology, according to the publication, is to capture a snapshot of the present and prospective employment outlook in each MSA and allow the reader to have a better sense of employment climate in each.

Included are all of the metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports monthly employment data. They are derived from three-month rolling averages of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics "state and area" unadjusted employment data reported from November 2002 to January 2014.

Nation's Mayors Award Hartford, Waterbury for Work Promoting Youth Jobs, Exercise

The mayors of two of Connecticut’s major cities – and their communities – had moments in the spotlight at the just-concluded annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM)  in Washington, D.C.

Hartford Mayor Pedro E. Segarra won first place for medium/small cities in the organization’s 1st Annual National SummerYouth Jobs Challenge. The award honors the outstanding achievements in innovative partnerships between cities and local business and non-profit communities to help provide youth with meaningful summer job experiences.

Mayor Neil M. O’Leary accepted a first place award for Waterbury’s Kid’s Marathon Program.  The organization gave six awards to mayors of cities with outstanding programs that encourage healthy weight through balanced diet choices and regular physical activity.  As the top selection, Waterbury receives a $120,000 grant that will support the 2014 Kid’s Marathon Program, a partnership between the YMCA, City of Waterbury, Department of Education, Boys and Girls Club, Police Activity League (PAL) and Connecticut Association of Schools, aimed at introducing the sport of running to youth ages 7-12, over a 12-week period and at no charge to the participants.mayors conf

Approximately 250 mayors, USCM business council members, USCM Workforce Development Council members and other workforce development professionals from major cities across the country attended the annual meeting.  The award was presented to Hartford at Thursday morning’s plenary session, which included remarks by Segarra, Louisville Mayor Gwaterburyreg Fischer, U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Since taking office in 2010, Segarra has invested regularly in youth employment programming, leverageing state and foundation funds to further expand work opportunities for young people. In 2013, the Mayor secured $1.25 million that put nearly half of the 2,056 youth in the region to work, officials said.  Additionally, in conjunction with four other regional mayors, he spearheaded an “unsubsidized” youth employment campaign, aligned with the Obama administration’s Youth Jobs + effort, which resulted in an additional 208 employer-paid positions.

Segarra was joined at the mayor’s conference by  Capital Workforce Partners President and CEO, Tom Phillips who was the 2012 President of the U. S. Conference of Mayor’s Workforce Development Council, and whose organization is instrumental in finding worksites and providing career competencies for over 2,000 youth in the North Central Connecticut region each summer.

Among the ten Connecticut Mayors registered to attend the conference in addition to Segarra and O’Leary were Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, Stratford Mayor John Harkins, West Haven Mayor Edward O’Brien, Trumbull Mayor Tim Herbst, Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc, Fairfield Mayor Michael Tetreau, and Stamford Mayor David Martin.  The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more.  There are 1,399 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official.

segarraThe Kid’s Marathon Program is designed to target city youth lacking in physical activity and good nutrition habits.  Students run 1-2 miles, two or three times per week, completing a cumulative 26.2 mile marathon over the course of the program.  They also receive positive and practical guidance on nutrition that helps foster long-term healthy eating behaviors.  In 2013, the program’s first year, 438 students participated, with the culminating 1-mile run occurring at Crosby High School before a crowd of family, friends and supporters.

USCM also recognized Eugene Morton, a Hartford resident who participated in employment opportunities created through Segarra’s youth initiatives. A 2007 graduate of Hartford’s Sports and Medical Sciences Academy, Morton is a Marketing major at Central Connecticut State University with a 4.0 average. In 2013, he took advantage of a summer employment opportunity at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center and was one of 13 college students who participated in the summer youth employment program offered at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in partnership with the Blue Hills Civic Association.

Mayor O’Leary and Waterbury were recognized with the first place award for their collaborative efforts on launching the Kid’s Marathon Program with the Rod Dixon Kid’s Marathon Foundation. The grant awards were divided into small, medium and large city categories, with first place and second place awards given in each category.  Waterbury placed first in the “medium city” category; the second place finisher was Little Rock, AR. The grant program is the result of a partnership between USCM and the American Beverag06-09-12-kids_05-300x229e Association (ABA), to support and/or enhance mayors’ ongoing childhood obesity prevention programs in their cities.    A total of $445,000 in grants was awarded to support both new and existing programs.  Denver, CO and Dallas, TX (large cities) and York, PA and Monrovia, CA (small cities) were the other recipients.

Last fall, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Partner America awarded Hartford Mayor Pedro E. Segarra their small business advocate of the year award.  The USCM presented Segarra with the award during the Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council Expo, at the Connecticut Convention Center.  The organization credited Segarra for launching the iConnect storefront revitalization project, quickening the pace of city permit approvals, investing $500,000 in façade improvements and awarding over $100,000 to 16 local artists and small businesses.  At the time, the mayor's office said the city has gained 134 small business and 200 jobs since 2010.


Stamford is #1 in USA in Workers with College Degree; Geography Key to Job Prospects

Stamford ranks first in the nation in the percentage of workers with a college degree, according to a  book that features an analysis of  the influences of geography on jobs, highlighting tremendous disparities that exist in cities across the country and citing innovation as a key jobs driver.

 “The sheer size of the differences between American communities is staggering," the book stated. " Stamford, Connecticut, the city with the largest percentage of college-educated workers in the United States, has five times the number of college graduates per capita as the city at the bottom, Merced, California.”

The New Geography of Jobs, written by Enrico Moretti, a professor of Economics and the University of California, ranked 306 of the nation’s metropolitan areas.  In the ranking, Waterbury was among the metropolitan areas with the smallest share of workers with a college degree, at 15 percent.

Stamford, with 56 percent, led the list, topping Washington, DC (49%), Boston (47%), Madison (47%) and San Jose (47%), which rounded out the top five metropolitan areas in the country.  Completing the top 10 metropolitan areas with the largest share of workers with a college degree is Ann Arbor (46%), Raleigh-Durham(44%), San Geograpgy-Jacket-ImageFrancisco-Oakland (44%), Fort Collins-Loveland, Colorado (44%), and Seattle-Everett, Washington (42%).  Yuma, AZ and Merced, CA, both at 11 percent, ranked last.

Moretti’s research and analysis reveals that the “new geography of jobs is benefitting centers of innovation,” and “among the beneficiaries are the workers who support the idea creators.”  He indicates that “for every new innovation job in a city, five additional non-innovation jobs are created, and those workers earn higher salaries than their counterparts in other urban areas.”

According to the book, the average salary of college graduates in Stamford is $133,479 and the average salary of high school graduates is $107,301.  Moretti points out that “the more college graduates there are (in a metropolitan area) the higher the salaries for high school graduates are.”  Overall, “the earnings of a worker with a high school City of Stamfordeducation rise by about 7 percent as the share of college graduates in his city increases by 10 percent,” a statistical analysis indicates.

Morelli also notes that the education level of the workforce not only impact salaries, but also the level of charitable contributions.  “Among large U.S. metropolitan areas, charities in five brain hubs – Stamford, Boston, Raleigh-Durham, Washington, D.C., and New York – receive the highest contributions relative to their population.”

The book also ranks Stamford as the metropolitan area with the second highest cost of living in the nation, behind only San Jose, CA, and just ahead of San Francisco-Oakland-Vallejo, California.  Also in the top 20 cities with the heist cost of living is Bridgeport, at number 17.

The New Geography of Jobs was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2012. Moretti is Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley where he holds the Michael Peevey and Donald Vial Career Development Chair in Labor Economics. He is the Director of the Infrastructure and Urbanization Program at the International Growth Centre (London School of Economics and Oxford University).

CT Should Look to New York, Aging Workforce, Urban Centers to Rebuild Economy

Connecticut would be foolish not to take greater advantage of the fact that nearly one-third of the state is within the financial orbit of New York City as it looks to rebuild its economic strength – while not overlooking the potential for entrepreneurial activity across the state.

Those were among the lead suggestions of a panel of economists and entrepreneurs at the University of Hartford looking at job prospects for today’s 20-somethings, in a program sponsored by CT Mirror.

Daniel Kennedy, Senior Economist in the Office of Research at the state Department of Labor emphasized that the strongest economic growth in the state in the years to come will be in Fairfield County, and evidence of that trend is already present in the current economic recovery.

Wayne Vaughn, president of Hartford-based Fuscient, which he launched in 1997, said the state should “play to its strengths,” in looking to Fairfield County.  He said that New York City's immense economy "bleeds over into one-third of our state."  He also called on the state’s colleges and universities to step up efforts to match students with mentors in the business community, to improve their workforce readiness.

The state’s college graduates should not sell the state short, offered Katelyn Anton, Community Manager of New Haven-based Independent Software, and a key contributor to Whiteboard, a popular blog for the technology and entrepreneurial community in the state.  “Connecticut is one of the ripest locations in the world,” for start-up ventures, she said, panelnoting the growth of co-working spaces in New Haven, Hartford, Bridgeport, Manchester and other communities, and the numerous incubator opportunities that individuals “can tap into.”

Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) economist and vice president Peter Gioia predicted that the state’s economy is “on the cusp of turning the corner,” noting that between 15 and 20 percent of today’s workforce will be retired within five years – creating job vacancies and opportunities for young people.  He predicted that as the workforce ages out of the market, the state’s workforce will need electrical line workers, plumbers, electricians, commercial loan officers, actuaries and financial planners, and some of that need is already apparent.

Gioia praised the state’s recent efforts to bolster the University of Connecticut and the state’s community colleges, underscoring the correlation between “where students go to school and where they get their first job.”  If students stay in the state for college, Connecticut businesses will ultimately benefit.

Kennedy said the state’s prolonged economic recovery is characterized by continued “demand deficient unemployment,” which is more structural than merely a reaction to the national downturn that began in 2008.  He indicated that even as some sectors are improving, many millennials remain underemployed -college graduates working in service, rather than professional, industries.

“More people are working, but they’re not making as much,” said Orlando Rodriguez, a senior policy fellow at Connecticut Voices for Children.  “For every job we lose in the financial industry, it takes eight and a half jobs in the restaurant industry.”

Rodriguez also raised a cautionary note, stating that Connecticut should be particularly concerned about young people in the state’s urban centers who do not attend college, and often are unable to obtain a first job. While statewide unemployment hovers around 8 percent, it can run as high as 40 percent among 18-24 year olds in Bridgeport and other urban communities. “Connecticut’s future,” Rodriguez said, “is in urban areas.”

Gioia was strongly critical of Congressional inaction on immigration reform, stating that the nation’s economy would be strengthened by a comprehensive policy.  “Immigrants are much more likely to start a business, and become net employers of Americans.”  He said the policy of educating foreign students, but not permitting them to then remain in the U.S., as “ridiculous.”  He also cited Canada as an example of a nation that has been more welcoming of immigrants, to the benefit of the nation’s economy.

Vaughn said that while his biggest challenge in doing business in Connecticut is retaining talent, the growth of technology in business transactions offers businesses here significant opportunities.  “Where your business is located doesn’t dictate who your customers are,” he said.

The discussion was the second of nine panels on a range of topics sponsored by The Connecticut Mirror to be held around the state in coming months.  It was moderated by Brett Ozrechowski, CEO-Publisher of the CT News Project, which operates CT Mirror.  Next month, discussions will be held  Nov. 7 at Fairfield University focused on measuring good teaching and Nov. 18 at the University of New Haven on the topic of the clean energy economy.

14 States and D.C. Have Recovered Recession-Lost Jobs; Connecticut Hasn't Yet

While employment has steadily climbed since the nation’s economic recovery began, only a few states have seen job levels return to pre-recession numbers thus far, and Connecticut is not among them.  Last month marked the four-year anniversary of the end of the recession in June 2009, and updated U.S. Department of Labor estimates published within the week show the extent to which states are rebounding.

The U.S. has recovered 5.3 million jobs since job losses bottomed out, still about 2.2 million below pre-recession levels, Governing magazine reported. Only 14 states and the District of Columbia have fully recovered jobs dating back to 2008. Of those, only oil-rich Texas, North Dakota and Alaska recorded notable job growth exceeding a couple percentage points.  In Connecticut, net employment is down 3.6 percent and in Rhode Island it’s down 4.5 percent. Employment is up one percent in New York, and nearly one percent in Massachusetts over that period.jobs-300x211

Across the country, North Dakota experienced a 20.6 percent gain in employment since the recovery began, by far the nation’s largest increase. The state's population also jumped, accordingly.  Texas (8.6 percent), Utah (7.8 percent) and Indiana (6.4 percent) recorded the next-highest percentage increases over the four-year period.

As residents of Connecticut have seen first-hand, Texas is aggressively job poaching.  The Lone Star State and California are in the midst of a well-publicized battle for jobs, with Gov. Rick Perry making numerous visits to California and airing radio ads courting the state’s employers. The two states collectively added nearly 1.4 million jobs since the recovery began, accounting for more than a quarter of the nation’s total job growth. Perry, of course, is also taking on New York, Connecticut and Illinois in his jobs-snatching corporate romancing.

Most states still have a long way to go before payrolls return to pre-recession levels, Governing magazine reports. Nevada’s unemployment rate remains the country’s highest at 9.6 percent. The state also has registered the largest percentage drop in employment since the recession began (-9.8 percent), followed by Arizona (-6.3 percent) and Alabama (-5.2 percent).

A map developed by the publication shows the extent to which each state recovered, with states shaded based on the percentage change in nonfarm employment since the recession began in January 2008 (the National Bureau of Economic Research determined the economy peaked in December 2007).

State economies didn't all peak or bottom out at the same time either, so the data represents snapshots since the official start of the recession.  Traditionally, Connecticut enters national recessions late, and emerges from them after most states as well.  Governing also notes that the data doesn’t take into account more people entering the labor force.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that Federal government employment continued to trend down in June (-5,000) and has declined by 65,000 over the past 12 months.  Of particular interest in Connecticut due to its employment levels in the financial services industry, employment in financial activities rose by 17,000 in June, with most of the increase occurring in credit intermediation (+6,000) and in insurance carriers and related activities (+6,000), according to the Bureau.

Employment in professional and business services rose by 53,000 in June. Over the past year, the professional and business services category has added 624,000 jobs.  Leisure and hospitality added 75,000 jobs in June. Monthly job growth in this industry has averaged 55,000 thus far in 2013, almost twice the average gain of 30,000 per month in 2012. Employment in the amusements, gambling, and recreation industry also continued to trend up in June (+19,000).

change in jobs

Waterbury, New Haven Among Nation's Leading Cities for Healthcare Social Workers

Connecticut, always on the lookout for occupations with strong potential for job growth, appears to already have one in our midst.  New statistics indicate that Waterbury and New Haven are among the top five metropolitan areas in the nation for healthcare social workers – a status that could serve to attract individuals in the fast-growing field to the state.

Nationwide, the median salary for a healthcare social worker is $47,770, and the job outlook is bright: jobs are projected to grow 26 percent from 2010 - 2020, which is twelve percentage points above the projected national job growth of 14 percent.  In Waterbury, the median salary is $65,250, the second highest in the nation; in New Haven, ranked at #5, it is $61Waterbury CT,950, according to data compiled by the data analysis website ValuePenquin.

Healthcare social workers are professionals who provide a range of services that support patients' medical needs in their psychosocial environment, from advising caregivers to coordinating medical services.  With healthcare becoming increasingly complex, the need for healthcare social workers has grown, as reflected in the analysis that determined the Best Cities for Healthcare Social Workers, based on May 2012 data.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that Connecticut is ranked fourth nationwide in  job prospects and has the fourth highest annual wages, at $60,830.  The Bureau defines the occupation as one that provides individuals, families, and groups with the psychosocial support needed to cope with chronic, acute, or terminal illnesses.  Services include advising family care givers, providing patient education and counseling, and making referrals for other services. Individuals in the field may also provide care and case management or interventions designed to promote health, prevent disease, and address barriers to access to healthcare.

In the ValuePenquin study methodology, median annual pay - a substantial factor in the decision process for people looking for work – was considered, along with how expensive the city is to live in.  Since the focus was on job opportunities, the study also factored in cities’ concentration of healthcare social workers. The ‘location quotient’ measures the concentration of a particular occupation in a city as a proportion of all occupations relative to the national average. They infer a higher location quotient to mean a relatively higher demand for a profession's services.  Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics underscored the recent study, ranking Connecticut fourth in the nation in location quotient, reflecting a field in demand.

While the study ranked Waterbury and New Haven in the top five, Massachusetts communities also had a strong showing, reflecting the regions attractiveness for professionals in the field.  The top ten:

  1. Carson City, NV
  2. Waterbury, CT
  3.  Cumberland, MD
  4. Taunton/Norton/Raynham, MA
  5.   New Haven, CT
  6.  Napa, CA
  7.  Yuba City,  CA
  8.  Springfield, MA
  9. Boston/Cambridge/Quincy, MA
  10. Hanford/Corcoran, CA

In addition, New Bedford ranked #14, Worcester was #16, Brockton/Bridgewater/Easton, MA was #17, Providence/Fall River/Warwick was #18, Pittsfield was #19 and Barnstable was #20.