Connecticut lost about 200 jobs total in 2016, capping of a year that saw Democrats lose their majority in the Connecticut Senate, and shed even more seats in the House of Representatives, as they argued the state economy was in better shape than was being reported.
Overall, more than 4,300 government jobs were lost in 2016, compared to the creation of 4,100 private sector jobs.
Gov. Dannel Malloy downplayed the bad news for the entire year, while also pumping up the 5,700 jobs created in January of this year.
“We’ve recovered about 80,000 jobs since the end of the great recession, and were relatively flat last year some months up some months down but relatively flat,” the governor said Friday.
Connecticut’s unemployment rate fell to 4.4 percent, below the national unemployment rate, but that figure was clouded, Republicans said, by the state being underwater in net job creation.
“These numbers are truly pathetic,” wrote Republican President Pro Tem Len Fasano, who saw his caucus grow to 18, even with Democrats in the Connecticut State Senate during last year’s elections.
He added, “Our Republican message to Connecticut taxpayers and businesses is: It doesn’t have to be this way.”
Joe Brennan, with the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, said while 2016 was a difficult year for the state, he said he’s looking ahead to 2017, and added that the January jobs figure was a great start.
“We want to see that private sector growth,” Brennan said.
He cautioned, however, that reductions to city and town budgets could end up being a kind of invisible business tax if property tax rates are forced higher.
Brennan said, “They may not get it on one tax but they get it on another so we have to see if that comes out in a wash through the legislative process."
One business that views 2017 as the year for serious growth and performance is F3 Technology Partners in West Hartford.
The company specializes in data storage, and has made significant investments in cybersecurity and cloud computing.
"I'd call it a good year,” said F3’s president Tom Colleary. “We got better people, we got better customers than we had in 2015 and we're set up now for future success.”
Colleary said he was successful in recruiting new employees to his company in 2016, which he said led to serious gains in the new sectors the company pursued. Even though the revenue figures weren’t quite as high as they could have been, Colleary said, he views 2017 as a year where the company can reach new heights.
"I'd call it a good year. We got better people, we got better customers than we had in 2015 and we're set up now for future success.
“We expect to jump quickly," he said.
As for doing business in what’s considered a high-tax state like Connecticut, Colleary said the state needs to do more to help small businesses. F3 Technology Partners has less than fifteen employees.
Colleary said if the state devotes more time and effort to helping companies like his, then years like 2016 will only be in the rearview mirror.
"This is where the future is. Both in small business and both in high tech so these are the type, we are the type of company that the state needs to pay attention to."