According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the state of Connecticut has lost more than 5,000 jobs over the past three months. Overall, the state has seen gains of more than 12,000 jobs over the past twelve months, but those don’t provide much confidence that Connecticut’s economy is growing at a healthy rate.
Such gains reflect a "slow growing economy" according to Ron Van Winkle, West Hartford’s Town Manager since 2008, but is also an economist.
Worst of all, Van Winkle said, is that the jobs that have been created aren’t providing the same dividends as the jobs that were lost during the Great Recession and beyond.
"Today, the jobs that are being created are at lower wages and lower levels," Van Winkle said. "From a budgeting standpoint, it’s difficult to replace a hundred thousand dollar a year job with an eighty thousand dollar job."
Even though September and August saw major announcements that Electric Boat and Pratt and Whitney planned to hire thousands over the next decade, and that Sikorsky secured a deal to keep its headquarters in Connecticut through 2032, those have now been tempered by other sobering news.
The credit ratings agency Standard and Poors provided a "negative" outlook for Connecticut, saying the state’s budget and unfunded pension liabilities make the future look uncertain for the state’s economic future.
Van Winkle said such a declaration should have Connecticut taxpayers take notice.
"They're looking at the strength of the economy and saying, it’s not so strong this year. There may be a problem and they're not downgrading but they're saying this may be an economy that is faltering to some degree."