by Kimberly James
Although Connecticut will add 60,000 jobs this year, the state won’t be back to pre-pandemic levels of employment until 2023, industry groups say.
“The inability to grow jobs at the national average or even at the top of the Northeast means that Connecticut’s economy is going to continue to grow slower than the rest of the country and the Northeast,” Chris DiPentima, president and CEO of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, told The Center Square. “The slow job growth means that businesses are not meeting the customer demand that they have. Connecticut, in turn, is not realizing the state’s total economic growth potential. Most businesses are hopeful that the state will put some policies in place to fuel growth and the jobs added each month will increase. This will help recover the jobs that we’ve lost before the end of this year.”
In order for the state to see job levels return to that of before the pandemic, DiPentima said it needs to ensure workplaces are safe to return to, address the child care shortage and examine the lack of population growth.
“Connecticut has not experienced the same population growth as other states over the past 10 years and that means the state’s workforce won’t grow as we continue to have people retire out of the workforce at a higher rate than those coming into it,” DiPentima said. “In order to nurture population growth, Connecticut needs to lower living costs by lowering individual taxes so that people want to stay and move to the state.”
Regarding business taxes, DiPentima said lowering business taxes will create more job opportunities, which will draw individuals to Connecticut to fill those openings and drive higher personal income growth, an area the state has lagged behind the rest of the country in since 2010.
Jim Watson, director of communications at the Department of Economic Community Development, told The Center Square that business confidence is growing in Connecticut, and more companies are choosing to build and invest there.
“We have dramatically improved the state’s financial position,” Watson said. “Controlling spending, not raising taxes, and making smart investments in innovation and business growth are making an impact.”
Another advantage for Connecticut, Watson said, is its workforce. Under the Governor’s Workforce Council and the Office of Workforce Strategy, the state is aggressively pursuing a number of initiatives to make sure students have access to meaningful postsecondary opportunities and employers have access to the workforce talent they need.
“It is worth noting the state has seen an in-migration of residents,” Watson said. “It is clear that in the new, ‘work-from-anywhere’ economy, the state’s quality of life, top schools, great health care, smaller cities and larger living space are increasingly attractive.”
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Kimberly James is a contributor to The Center Square.