WNPR

Connecticut Eyes Massachusetts Job Growth for Economic Secrets

Dec 6, 2016

Connecticut’s declining jobs numbers in recent months have made the contrast with its New England neighbors even more stark. While the Nutmeg State has yet to regain all the jobs it lost in the great recession, Massachusetts is seemingly booming. 

Early surveys show that Connecticut lost 7,200 jobs in October -- the fourth straight month of employment declines.

And while monthly figures can be volatile and subject to revisions, there’s no masking the underlying trend.

Over the last 12 months, the state has grown only 0.2 percent. Contrast that to its northern neighbor. The Bay State saw growth over the same period of two percent, higher than the national average.

Nick Perna, economic adviser to Webster Bank, told WNPR’s Where We Live that slow job growth is hurting Connecticut tax revenues and exacerbating budget woes. It’s particularly bad because the employment that's coming back is largely in low-income service jobs.

"Where we’ve gotten job growth, it hasn’t replaced the losses in the higher income levels," Perna said. "So that our receipts are growing slowly, not just because jobs are growing slowly, but because average incomes are not rising or are falling."

While many point to high taxes and a high cost of living in Connecticut -- contributing to an unfriendly business climate -- Massachusetts is also a high-cost and highly regulated state.

Economist Alan Clayton Matthews said that Boston’s critical mass of world-class universities is one of the keys to its success.

"Connecticut is between two big metropolitan areas -- New York and Boston -- and a lot of the economic activity is getting sucked toward those centers, especially in this globalized economy," he told Where We Live.

And Clayton Matthews pointed out that it’s not only Connecticut that suffers from this gravitational effect.

While Boston’s activity keeps the state healthy overall, many other communities in Massachusetts also struggle with blight and economic decline.