Connecticut's economy contracted for a second consecutive year in 2017, the next-to-worst performance of any state in the country.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports the state's GDP shrank 0.2%—one of just three states with negative growth—a year after contracting by 0.3%.

GDP Growth 2013-17Only Louisiana's economy (-0.2%) performed worse than Connecticut's last year.

The national economy expanded 2.1%, while the six New England states averaged 1.6% growth, led by Massachusetts at 2.6%.

Connecticut's economy has expanded only once in the last five years, growing 1.1% in 2015.

CBIA economist Pete Gioia said the state's poor GDP performance over the past four years "points to an economic malaise."

"Obviously, the latest GDP numbers are extremely disappointing,"Gioia said. "We are missing the economic growth party that the region and most of the country are experiencing."

Slow Job Growth

That lackluster economic growth is also reflected by the state's post-recession employment numbers.

Through March this year, Connecticut has recovered just 80% of all jobs lost in the 2008-2010 recession, the slowest recovery in New England. The U.S. has recovered 219% of jobs lost.

We haven't approached the economy as job one from a legislative perspective, and that shows in our rank as 49th.
— CBIA economist Pete Gioia
"We haven't approached the economy as job one from a legislative perspective, and that shows in our rank as 49th out of all states," Gioia said. "That's a sad place to be.

"Policymakers must adopt a laser-like focus on improving the economy, instead of passing bills that discourage investment in our state."

Manufacturing Expands

Durable goods manufacturing—driven by the surging aerospace and defense sectors—was a bright spot for Connecticut's economy last year, leading all industries with 0.39% growth.

Administrative services expanded by 0.17%, followed by retail trade (0.08%), non-durable goods manufacturing (0.07%), and healthcare (0.05%).

Finance and insurance—a critical component of the state's economy—led all contracting industries, shrinking 0.28% last year.

Management shrank 0.26%, followed by government (-0.23%), construction (-0.11%), and information (-0.07%).

Washington Leads Nation

Massachusetts' strong 2017 growth was propelled by that state's professional services, real estate, and finance and insurance industries.

At 1.9%, New Hampshire's economy grew the second fastest of the New England states, followed by Rhode Island (1.6%), Maine (1.4%), and Vermont (1.1%).

Washington state had the nation's fastest growing economy in 2017, with its retail trade and information industries driving overall growth of 4.4%.

Colorado's economy grew 3.6%, followed by Nevada (3.5%), Arizona (3.2%), and Utah (3.1%).

Kansas (-0.1%), Alaska (0.2%), and Mississippi (0.3%) rounded out the bottom five states.