Thursday, February 02, 2006

Poll: Economy "Most Important Problem" Facing State

Job creation and economic growth remained the top problem facing Connecticut, according to a new Courant/UCONN poll released today.

...37 percent of residents view job creation and the economy as their greatest concern, up from 25 percent last fall.

Only 7 percent of residents see the availability of jobs improving, while 48 percent see the job market worsening and 39 percent predict it will remain the same. (Pazniokas)

Not surprising, considering the grim economic news we've been hearing lately. Layoffs at Electric Boat, the closure of the Winchester factory in New Haven and stagnant job creation numbers have put the economy front and center in people's minds.

Gov. Rell has thus far been untouched by economic troubles (as well as political troubles--the Moody scandal seems like a distant memory now, and most voters apparently didn't pay attention to it in the first place), despite the fact that her opponents have repeatedly attacked her on that front. John DeStefano will try tomorrow to gain some ground against her when he announces part of a new jobs plan his campaign has devised.

Rell has yet to propose a comprehensive plan to stimulate the state's economy, preferring to deal with situations as they arise. Both DeStefano and Malloy have attacked her for this approach, which the DeStefano campaign has referred to as "a press release and a band-aid," but so far state residents don't seem to have a problem with it.

Source

Pazniokas, Mark. "Poll: State Worried About Jobs." Hartford Courant 2 February, 2006.

8 comments:

Franks said...

The Day no longer has this online, but it's an interesting assessment.

Groton –– Connecticut is facing a “quiet crisis” that has eroded business growth over the past 15 years and robbed the state of high-paying technology and manufacturing jobs.
Jeffrey Blodgett, vice president of research for the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, offered that sobering assessment Tuesday during a presentation to the Eastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce at the Groton Inn & Suites.

“This is the only time in our post-war history that we've had no job growth,” Blodgett said.

He based his presentation, “Connecticut: The Quiet Crisis,” on the Rocky Hill-based CERC's extensive study of the state's $180 billion economy, first released last fall.

The research shows a state that still has a skilled and educated work force, a per-capita income that tops all other states and a growing “knowledge-based” sector that feeds off the intellectual capital found at the state's universities, research firms and high-tech companies.

But the research also shows that Connecticut faces formidable competition from other states –– and other countries –– that can offer economic superiority on a number of fronts.

The state also has challenges from within, including the need for improving educational scores, adding more entrepreneurial businesses and increasing regional cooperation among the state's 169 municipalities, which are facing rising energy, educational and economic-development costs.

Population growth across Connecticut and the entire Northeast has lagged behind the rest of the country for four decades.

“Population growth and economic activity are highly correlated,” Blodgett said. “But geography doesn't have to be destiny,” he said. “We can do better.”

Blodgett said Connecticut has experienced no net job growth over the past 15 years, has lost 60,000 technology jobs and has suffered a decline in businesses.

The news for southeastern Connecticut's $10.5 billion economy isn't much better: The three largest municipalities –– New London, Norwich and Groton –– have lost population since 1990, median household income lags behind the rest of the state and the region's poverty rate has increased during the past decade.

•••••Gov. M. Jodi Rell has often claimed that creating and preserving jobs are her administration's top priority as it attempts to pump up Connecticut's economy. She has formed a special commission to investigate ways to further diversify southeastern Connecticut's economy to be less reliant on defense-related industries and broaden its service-related industries beyond the growing reliance on tourism and gambling.

This year, southeastern Connecticut already is facing layoffs at the Electric Boat shipyard in Groton, which has said it could reduce its total work force of 11,500 by up to 2,400 through attrition, retirements and layoffs. In addition, workers at Pfizer Inc.'s facilities in New London and Groton are facing layoffs, job transfers and job eliminations as part of the pharmaceutical company's ongoing global restructuring. EB and Pfizer are among the region's largest employers.

“There's a tremendous dependence (in southeastern Connecticut) on two or three industries,” Blodgett said. He also said Connecticut continues to “export” 2,500 freshmen annually to out-of-state colleges and universities, which results in many of them taking jobs outside Connecticut.

Blodgett isn't alone in his analysis of the state's need for an economic kick-start. Other economists have noted that the state continues to lose higher-paying manufacturing jobs –– 54,000 jobs between 1998 and 2004 –– and that lower-paying jobs typically found in the service sector are replacing them. Connecticut now employs nearly 200,000 manufacturing workers at more than 5,000 manufacturers within its borders.

Connecticut is now in its fifth year of recovery from a stinging recession but has recovered only about half of the 60,000 jobs lost during the downturn of 2001. Between 1998 and 2004, the 10 occupations with the most job openings paid an average salary of $41,000. During that same period, jobs suffering the most losses had average annual salaries of $56,000.

“The result is a $15,000 gap between the jobs we are creating and those we are losing,” Blodgett said.

Research shows that by 2020, 40 percent of new workers will be from Connecticut's urban centers. But Blodgett detailed a troubling set of figures showing that among the state's top five urban centers –– Hartford, Waterbury, New Haven, Bridgeport and New Britain –– family incomes have fallen and poverty rates are among the highest in the nation. Over the past 25 years, those cities have lost nearly 100,000 jobs and more than 2,000 businesses.

Through 2030 Connecticut is expected to grow more slowly than the rest of New England. Such slower population tends to retard entrepreneurial activity and erodes political clout. Connecticut, once home to six congressional districts, has already lost one because of population declines.

Blodgett offered a number of suggestions to rejuvenate the state's economy, including increasing regionalization of services, which would offer greater economies of scale for cities and towns. Blodgett said Connecticut is home to 169 “separate home rule fiefdoms” that have redundant assets –– from public school systems, to police and fire and public works –– as well as separate bureaucracies running the various cities and towns.

Blodgett also said Connecticut needs to focus on long-term economic strategies that confront growing poverty, the lack of job and business growth and eroding educational superiority.

“The focus is always on the next election, the next legislative session, the next fiscal year,” Blodgett said.

But that short-term focus, while understandable given current political realities, takes time and efforts away from addressing more long-term growth issues facing Connecticut, he said.

a.cronin@theday.com

the wandererrr said...

The more important issue here is that Nancy DiNardo's brother keeps getting tax breaks from Mayor Fabriz. Nancy was Farrell's ampaign manager and now she's the party boss for the CT Democrats. Sleaze is sleaze and it costs a lot more than corruption ever will but how else will candidates get campaign money????.

the wandererrrr said...

This year, southeastern Connecticut already is facing layoffs at the Electric Boat shipyard in Groton, which has said it could reduce its total work force of 11,500 by up to 2,400 through attrition, retirements and layoffs says Franks in his summary but that's not true because the Save our Subbase Coalition showed that 'synergy' was paramount to keeping the Groton 'one weapon system' Navy base open through a bi-partisan balh balh blah effort. Why is evreybody so stupid.

And what's Franks proposing to help out CT? Mandatory healthcare coverage for WalMart enterprises that the stae economice development people 'lured' to CT. CT needs a third party, mabe a fourth party, that doesn't by in to Lowell weicker and casinos for non-native Americans.

Quinn said...

Once again, Democrats will attack the Republican governor on the economy and expect that they can once again fool the voters into not noticing that they've been running the Legislature for the past forty years... the same forty years in which the Northeast has lagged behind the national level of economic growth, incidentally.

Can't say I disagree with Blodgett's solutions persay, he has some good advice. I would of course add that Connecticut should dump its near-European style labor environment in which the Democratic legislature and unions are double-teaming corporations and beating them into submission. A minor detail, really.

sanity said...

Please read OLR's research Report: Major Issues for 2006 (http://www.cga.ct.gov/2006/rpt/2006-R-0028.htm#P257_20736). Throughout there are contradictions to the Democrat Legislative Leadership's claim to want to turn around business and the economy in this state.

Take, for example, the section on Corporate Income Tax and how they propose to treat businesses with multi-state operations. Think of United Technologies, a company whose employment in Connecticut has fallen from 50,000 to 20,000 in just over a decade while world-wide operations has expanded to over 200,000. Most of their operations are now out of state and are growing out of state. We already receive a larger sum of tax revenue from UTC than would be indicated by its level of employment in this state.

For the most part, much of what is left of UTC in Connecticut are the headquarters of its various businesses. It is not a big deal at all for the company to relocate all its headquarters out of Connecticut within a few years to any of the over half a dozen other states that are actively courting them right now. And then to move its remaining operations out of the state within a decade. Not only is it possible..., not only is it feasable..., it is quite likely to happen if the legislature maintains the policies it has the past several years and is indicating it will maintain this year, despite their claim to want to improve business in the state.

And who'll be next to leave? GE shouldn't have too much trouble fiding real estate over on the other side of NYC. Pfizer? Bristol-Myers? I could go on.

The Democrat Legislative Leadership just doesn't get it. Connecticut is in so much trouble.

TrueBlueCT said...

Quinn--

I'm sorry that you believe CT should be in a race to the bottom.

My feeling is that the biggest problem CT has faced is the crappy leadership of our Republican governors.

Our two Dem challengers are talking about the real issues. Ever hear Jodi the lightweight bring up tax reform? Or real transportation issues?

Township government and regional blindness/ignorance is that which is choking CT.

Anonymous said...

TBC

Let's look at states without an income tax

Texas
Florida
Washington
Tennessee

Notice that's where most of the big innovative businesses are iether getting underway or relocating

i.e. Microsoft, Dell, Disney, Fed Ex, Nissan, SBC...

I forgot Lowell Weicker saved the state and the only way to preserve it is to adopt the whole AFL-CIO labor agenda. Because our economic future will be based on having the world's most expensive nursing homes...yeah, that's the ticket...it's working so great for NY state

V.O.R. said...

Who will fund all those necessary social programs and pay all those labor union employee's when the Democrats chase every successful person and bussiness entity out of this state? Also, how will they blame the Republican's?