Average annual wages in Connecticut increased 1.2% in 2017 to $66,648, double the percentage increase from the previous year.

While average wages remain the fifth highest in the country—20% above the national level—Connecticut wage growth ranked 46th among all states in percentage terms last year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

2017 Connecticut wage growthNationally, average wages increased 3.9% to $$55,375, reflecting low unemployment, a growing shortage of skilled workers, and strong economic growth.

Connecticut wage growth was also the slowest of the New England states last year, with Massachusetts leading the region with a 3.7% increase.

At $67,432, Massachusetts also has the region's highest annual average wages, followed by Connecticut, New Hampshire ($53,563), Rhode Island ($51,453), Vermont ($45,030), and Maine ($42,596).

The U.S. inflation rate rose 2.9% in 2017 (3.2% in New England)—meaning wage growth in the state is failing to keep pace with the increased cost of living.

Economic Struggles

CBIA economic adviser Pete Gioia said the failure of wage growth to match inflation, along with slow job and GDP growth, reflect the state's struggles to recover from the 2008-2010 recession.

"While it's good to see Connecticut wages increase, the fact that the rate of growth is less than a third of neighboring Massachusetts is troubling," Gioia said.

"We do still have comparatively high average wages, but that's being eroded by slow economic growth—a major concern given the high cost of living in Connecticut."

Private sector wages rose 1% to $67,278. Average state government salaries increased 1.3% to $70,884.
Gioia noted that Connecticut's economic struggles will be a major theme throughout the election campaigns for governor and the state legislature this year.

"Policy decisions made by lawmakers over recent years, including the major tax hikes in 2011 and 2015, are significant contributing factors," he said.

"Connecticut has a lot of work to do to jump start the economy and voters will be asking candidates at every level about their plans to change the state's direction."

Public, Private Sector Wages

Private sector wages in Connecticut rose 1% to $67,278. Average state government salaries increased 1.3% to $70,884.

The utilities sector posted the largest percentage increase, with average salaries jumping 10.9% to $124,209.

Mining wages rose 6.7% to $76,733, followed by educational services (3.3%; $64,844), construction (3.1%; $68,629), and manufacturing (3%; $81,874).

Manufacturing also led all industry sectors in job growth last year, adding 5,700 positions or 3.6%. Overall job growth in Connecticut was an anemic 0.3%.

Seven industry sectors posted 3% or better wage growth in 2017, while three sectors—real estate (-6.1%), management (-5.6%), and transportation (-0.7%)—saw average wages decline.

Finance and insurance has the highest average annual salary of any sector—$168,959—while accommodation and food services, with a high proportion of part-time workers, has the lowest, $21,839.