The DeStefano campaign today attacked Gov. Rell over job figures in a new report on the Connecticut economy released by the Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis:
Saying that “Governor Rell offers false optimism, but no new ideas or leadership to stop Connecticut’s worsening jobs loss,” John DeStefano, Democratic candidate for Governor, today responded to the Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis’s (CCEA) new Economic Outlook concerning the uncertain future of Connecticut’s job growth.
The report predicts that Connecticut’s anemic job growth shows no signs of improving and in fact will get worse over the new few years. According to the Outlook, economic growth, wages and job growth will all decline between now and 2008. Connecticut’s job growth rate, already about half the national average, will drop again in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
Fred Carstensen, director of the CCEA, stressed that “State leaders must strengthen investments” in developing industries and educational programs to create jobs. (DeStefano)
The report itself offers a mixed view of the Connecticut economy:
...The CCEA Outlook anticipates real growth continuing through 2008, at modestly lowered rates, falling from 3.5% in 2006 to 2.8% in 2007 and 2.6% in 2008...
Following the national pattern, the CCEA Outlook sees growth in employment lagging growth in output as increasing productivity continues to undermine the need to hire significantly more employees. Even so, the CCEA Outlook forecasts Connecticut employment continuing modest growth, falling from the 0.8% rate of 2005 to 0.6% in 2006, 0.5% in 2007 and 0.4% in 2006... The picture that the CCEA Outlook provides emphasizes the continuing challenge to Connecticut of building its competitiveness so its economy will generate sufficient jobs for its own citizens. (CCEA)
The report stresses that, while the economy isn't exactly booming, it is healthier than it was in 2003, when there was no economic growth at all.
Still, the picture painted is that of a listless, albeit not lifeless, economy. By 2008, the report forecasts, Connecticut employment will have regained the record levels of 2001, although growth continues to be slow. The report also emphasizes the ties Connecticut's economy has to events beyond our control, such as hostilities in the Middle East and disruptions to the flow of petroleum.
It is DeStefano's charge that Rell has not taken economic leadership of the state, despite the fact that the economy has generally improved (albeit slowly) on her watch. According to DeStefano, "With strong leadership, creative ideas, and a smart hard-working labor force, there is no reason why Connecticut should not be a top 10 job growth state so our children can find jobs here."
However, without a serious economic crisis brewing, DeStefano's argument has yet to resonate with voters.
"DeStefano: Rell offers false optimism, but no new ideas or leadership to stop Connecticut's job loss." DeStefano for Connecticut. Press Release. 15 August, 2006.
UCONN/CCEA Connecticut Economic Outlook: State Gross Product Breaks $200 Billion; Employment Continues Sloooooow Recovery. Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis: 2006.