economy

Global Metro Monitor
2:10 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Connecticut Cities Retain Legacy Wealth, But Fail to Grow

Corporate headquarters help to make Hartford the fourth-richest city in the world.
Cliff Creative Commons

Connecticut’s urban areas remain among of the most economically productive areas in the world, even while they struggle to recover from the great recession. In fact a new study from the Brookings Institution pegs Hartford as having the second highest economic output in the country, and the fourth highest in the world.

The Global Metro Monitor takes the economic temperature of 300 major cities around the world. Greater Hartford lies fourth in the world in terms of gross domestic product per capita, a measure of how much economic value is produced compared to the size of a metro area, including corporate profits as well as personal incomes. Only Zurich, Oslo and San Jose rank higher. Bridgeport, whose metro area include Fairfield County, lies eighth.

But another story is told by the most recent data on recovery from 2014. 

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Budget Crisis
1:11 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

$121 Million State Deficit Fueled By Falling Gas Prices

KOMUnews Creative Commons

Turns out saving at the pump isn’t great for everyone.

Governor Dannel Malloy will have to order a second round of budget cuts for fiscal year 2015 after the falling price of petroleum has contributed to a $120.9 million deficit, an $89.3 million increase from last month.

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Trans Pacific Partnership
12:28 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Rep. Rosa DeLauro Urges Caution on Asian Trade Deal

Rep. Rosa DeLauro.
Credit Creative Commons

President Obama courted controversy with his own party in the State of the Union by again calling for a key Asian trade deal to be fast-tracked.

The Trans Pacific Partnership is opposed by some senior Democrats, who believe it will lead to a loss of jobs here. 

Obama is asking to be given the authority to negotiate the deal without congressional oversight. Connecticut’s Third District Representative Rosa DeLauro said that’s not acceptable.

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Congress
6:23 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Rep. DeLauro Leading Opposition To President Obama's Trade Proposal

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.)

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 4:05 pm

As President Obama prepares for the State of the Union address tonight, some Democratic members of Congress are opposing one of the White House’s proposals.

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Business
6:48 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Dollar's Rise Is Good News For The U.S., For Now

A pedestrian passes a currency exchange in London Jan. 5. The value of the U.S. dollar has risen about 15 percent against the euro since last summer.
Andy Rain EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 8:17 pm

If you've traveled outside the U.S. recently, or sent your U.S.-made products abroad, you've probably noticed that the dollar is getting stronger. The stronger dollar is the sign of a healthier U.S. economy, but its strength has the potential to erode growth.

There are a number of factors behind the dollar's rise, says economist Jens Nordvig, a currency expert at Nomura Securities. The main one is the health of the U.S. economy.

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Price of Crude
3:20 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

OPEC Members Feeling The Pain Of Falling Oil Prices

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is welcomed by Saudi Crown Prince Salman in Riyadh on Sunday. The meeting was part of Maduro's diplomatic tour of OPEC members to discuss falling oil prices, which have hit Venezuela's economy hard.
Reuters /Landov

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is trying to persuade his fellow OPEC leaders to reduce oil production as the price of crude continues to slide and hurt the Venezuelan economy, which depends on oil for 95 percent of its export revenue.

Maduro was in Qatar this week, seeking billions to shore up his economy.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon January 12, 2015

The Price of Oil and Gas Is Dropping Like a Rock

Noel Hendrickson/Digital Vision Thinkstock

The price of gas was nearly $4.00 per gallon two years ago. Economists worried the rate would continue to rise, causing financial hardship on those with an already lean budget. What if it went to $5.00 a gallon? Well, those days are long gone.

Gas in Connecticut is around $2.50 a gallon and it's much cheaper elsewhere in the country.

But the higher rate also made people drive less and conserve more, and pushed higher fuel efficiency standards through Congress, nearly doubling the average fuel economy of new cars and trucks by 2025.

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Affordable Tuition
7:35 am
Tue January 6, 2015

Student Tuition Now Outweighs State Funding At Public Colleges

During the fiscal years 2003-2012, "median tuition rose 55 percent across all public colleges," while state funding decreased by 12 percent, the General Accountability Office reports.
Imeh Akpanudosen Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 7:45 pm

Driven by higher tuition fees and tighter state funds, America's public colleges now get more money from their students than from all state sources. That's according to a report by the Government Accountability Office, which says tuition revenue reached 25 percent of the colleges' total in 2012.

The numbers are stark, with the GAO saying that from fiscal years 2003-2012, "state funding decreased by 12 percent overall while median tuition rose 55 percent across all public colleges."

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Oil Prices
4:23 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Crude Oil Dips Under $50 A Barrel, A Price Last Seen In 2009

U.S. gasoline prices have fallen sharply since last summer, driven by surging oil production and other factors. The price for a barrel of U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fell below $50 Monday.
David N. Goodman AP

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 6:45 pm

The price for a barrel of U.S. oil benchmark West Texas Intermediate fell below $50 Monday, matching levels seen in the spring of 2009. The drop is linked to both OPEC's boosted production and a stronger dollar.

Oil's latest fall came along with a dip on Wall Street, as the Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 330 points to finish at 17,501 — a drop of 1.86 percent that's also seen as a reaction to new instability in Europe.

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New Year Reflections
7:42 pm
Thu January 1, 2015

Some 2015 Predictions from Connecticut's Business Community

"Vuurwerk in New York"
PDPhoto.org wikimedia

WNPR’s Business Desk has a tradition at this time of year of asking our contributors from around the state to reflect on the year just past, and make a few predictions for the future. 

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Economy
4:29 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

Economy Weathers A Bad Winter And Other Storms To Finish 2014 Strong

A New York Stock Exchange trader works on the floor on Dec. 17. Stocks rose nearly 300 points after the Federal Reserve announced it plans to begin raising interest rates next year.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 12:13 pm

The economy was floored by the polar vortex early on in 2014 — plus, businesses and consumers were still a little dazed by a government shutdown and debt ceiling fight late in 2013.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, says it all produced an anxious start to the year. "Yeah, a lot of worry, particularly because we had misstepped a few other times during the recovery," he says. "We had these false dawns when we really thought the economy was going to kick into gear and then we kind of fell back into the morass."

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The Faith Middleton Show
10:33 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Finance: Watch Out for Capital Gains This Year

Credit Andreas Poike/flickr creative commons

The end of the year is fast approaching, and our contributors on financial matters advise us to keep a close eye on capital gains.

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Employment Recovery
8:25 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Connecticut Sees Best Jobs Year Since 1997

More people are finding positions, as employers begin to hire.
Credit Harriet Jones

Connecticut’s jobs recovery continued strongly in November, with employers adding 4,600 new positions. 

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Massachusetts
8:20 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Springfield City Council Sets New Property Tax Rates

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 12:10 pm

New property tax rates have been set in Springfield, Massachusetts.  For the first time in many years, the rates for both homeowners and business property owners have been reduced, as property values continue to recover from the Great Recession

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Rhode Island
3:58 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Rhode Island Governor-Elect Taps Stefan Pryor as First Commerce Secretary

Stefan Pryor in a WNPR file photo.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Rhode Island's governor-elect Gina Raimondo has picked Connecticut Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor, a fellow Yale alum with experience leading economic-development efforts in New York and New Jersey, as her choice to be Rhode Island's first commerce secretary.

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Economy
6:21 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Mortgage Giants Ease Down Payments For First-Time Homebuyers

A new directive from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, will allow first-time homebuyers to put down as little as 3 percent.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 8:05 pm

A federal directive will go into effect Saturday making it easier for some Americans to come up with a down payment to buy a house.

The vast majority of home loans are guaranteed by the government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The regulator in charge of Fannie and Freddie will allow first-time homebuyers to put down as little as 3 percent.

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Net Worth
1:21 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Wealth Gap Between Races Widened During Recession, Study Says

Occupy Wall Street protesters join a labor union rally in Foley Square before marching on Zuccotti Park in New York's Financial District in 2011. A new report shows that wealth inequality between whites and nonwhites grew during the Great Recession.
Jason DeCrow AP

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 3:50 pm

The Great Recession has widened the wealth gap among white, black and Hispanic Americans, with median net worth in white households increasing to 13 times that for African-Americans, a new Pew Research Center study shows.

The study also shows that from 2007 to 2013, the wealth of white households has grown to 10 times that of Hispanic households.

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Hartford History
9:10 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Senate Vote Nears on Making Hartford's Coltsville a National Park

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra in October 2013 announced a plan to borrow $5 million and build more apartments at the former Colt factory.
Credit David Panagore

The effort to turn Hartford's historic Colt gun factory into a national park is continuing. 

A century and a half ago, the Colt complex was where Sam and Elizabeth Colt made the revolver. Now, it's a fundamental part of the country's industrial history, and supporters want to turn it and some of the surrounding neighborhood into a national park.

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Voicemail Project
4:19 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

The WNPR Voicemail Project: Retail Horror Stories

John Henderson Creative Commons

WNPR has an experimental radio project and we want you to get involved. The idea is simple: we provide a theme; you call our hotline and tell a story.

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Connecticut Business Briefs
11:24 am
Tue December 9, 2014

UTC Appoints New CFO

UTC's new CFO, Akhil Johri.
Credit United Technologies

United Technologies is bringing back a long-time executive to serve as chief financial officer.

Akhil Johri succeeds Greg Hayes, who became president and CEO of the conglomerate last month after the unexpected departure of CEO Louis Chenevert. 

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Business
4:58 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

GOP Leaders: Gas Tax Hike Could Fuel Fixes To Bad Roads And Bridges

Thomas Harden of Chicago pumps gas into his truck. He says he wouldn't support a gas tax increase.
David Schaper NPR

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 1:57 pm

Gasoline prices are at their lowest level in four years. The price at the pump in many states is almost a full dollar cheaper than it was last spring.

So some politicians think this is a good time to raise gasoline taxes. Several states are tired of waiting for Congress to fix the federal highway trust fund, so they're considering raising gas taxes themselves to address their crumbling roads.

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Business
4:44 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

2014: The Year When The Job Market Finally Turned The Corner

A construction worker clears wood from a platform that spans the Penn Station railroad tracks in New York City on Nov. 18. Construction jobs rose by 20,000 according to the November jobs report.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Fri December 5, 2014 4:23 pm

As 2014 winds down, you might want to save that calendar hanging next to the fridge.

Maybe even frame it.

After so many years of misery for the middle class, 2014 is now looking like the one that finally brought relief. The November jobs report, released Friday by the Labor Department, had blowout numbers showing a surge in job creation, an upturn in work hours and a meaningful boost in wages.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
8:21 am
Thu December 4, 2014

Inflammation Can Kill You

Vishwa-Deep Dixit is Professor of Comparative Medicine and of Immunobiology at the Yale School of Medicine
Chion Wolf

I got interested in this topic last year when the Yale Medical School got a $10 million Blavatnik grant for more work in the specific area of  Immunobiology.

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Holiday Shopping
9:56 am
Sun November 30, 2014

Black Friday Sales Down At Stores, Surge Online

Shoppers Manuel Orellano, middle, with his daughter Marcela, left, and her son Manuel, 6, shop for children's clothing at JCPenney at Glendale Galleria shopping mall in Glendale, Calif, on Friday.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 2:33 pm

Black Friday shopping at brick-and-mortar stores in the United States was down about 7 percent from a year ago, according to ShopperTrak, but more purchases on Thanksgiving Day nearly made up the difference. Meanwhile, online retailers recorded double-digit year-on-year increases in sales.

ShopperTrak says Friday store sales hit $9.1 billion, but that shoppers spent $3.2 billion on Thanksgiving — a 24 percent increase for sales on that day from over last year. Overall, it represented a 0.5 percent drop from last year.

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Business
12:53 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Gender Wage Gap in Connecticut Exceeds National Average

Phil Whitehouse Creative Commons

Women’s position in the workplace in Connecticut has improved significantly over the last 15 years, according to a new report. But the study, commissioned by the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, says too many disparities still remain, particularly for women of color. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Connecticut's Plan for Energy Efficiency; Roundtable Looks at CL&P Rates

Kevin Dooley Creative Commons

According to a new scorecard from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Connecticut has dropped to sixth place in the national ranking of state energy efficiency. 

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The Business of Governing
10:31 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Catherine Smith Looks Forward to Economic Development 2.0

DECD Commissioner Catherine Smith
Credit Chion Wolf

Economic development was a major part of the campaign rhetoric this election season, and it seems destined to be a high-profile part of Governor Dannel Malloy’s second term.

WNPR sat down with the administration’s economic development chief, Catherine Smith to talk about what a second term will look like.

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American Made: The New Manufacturing Landscape
3:24 am
Thu November 6, 2014

In South Carolina, A Program That Makes Apprenticeships Work

John Harris makes a weld for a test during a welding class at Spartanburg Community College in Spartanburg, S.C., on Oct. 22.
Mike Belleme for NPR

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 6:41 pm

Several years ago, South Carolina had a problem: a shortage of skilled workers and no good way to train young people for the workforce. So at a time when apprenticeship programs were in decline in the U.S., the state started a program called Apprenticeship Carolina.

"We were really, really squarely well-positioned at the bottom," says Brad Neese, the program's director.

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Election 2014
1:13 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

How Far Apart, Really, Are Connecticut's Candidates for Governor on Economic Issues?

Governor Dannel Malloy breaks ground on Jackson Lab's new Farmington facility.
Jackson Labs

The two major candidates for Connecticut governor have clashed repeatedly in their debates over economic policy and jobs. But how far apart are they really in how they would tackle the pocketbook issues? Maybe not so far.

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Employment Statistics
4:04 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Connecticut Posts Biggest Monthly Jobs Gain in 20 Years

Credit Sujata Srinivasan

Connecticut posted its best month for job gains in 20 years in September, adding 11,500 positions to its workforce. That’s the largest monthly improvement since 1994. 

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