The Norwich-New London economy grew the fastest of any Connecticut metropolitan area in 2016, posting 3.9% growth for the year.

Three of the state's four major metro areas saw GDP growth last year, based on a report released this week by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

GDP Growth: Connecticut Metro AreasHartford-West Hartford-East Hartford was the exception, with the area's economy seeing no growth in 2016—a year after leading the state at 4%.

New Haven-Milford's GDP grew 1.8% after expanding 1.1% the previous year.

Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk's GDP exceeded $100 billion for the first time in 2016, growing 1.1%.

The Fairfield County metro area has the state's largest economy and saw 1.2% growth the previous year.

Connecticut's overall economy grew a modest 1% in 2016. The New England states averaged 1.7% GDP growth while the U.S. economy grew 1.5%.

Bouncing Back

Norwich-New London's GDP shrank between 2012-2014, bouncing back in 2015 with 3.2% growth. At $15.8 billion, the region has the state's smallest economy.

Non-durable goods manufacturing was the area's strongest sector in 2016, expanding 2.76% while government—which includes the state's two casinos—grew 0.77%, and durable goods 0.52%.

CBIA economist Pete Gioia said surging demand at Groton-based General Dynamics Electric Boat was a key contributing factor to the area's economic performance.

Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk has the state's largest GDP, exceeding $100 billion for the first time in 2016.
"It's encouraging to see Norwich-New London with a strong 3.9% growth rate," Gioia said. "That area really needs it after several years of stagnation.

"The numbers in New Haven and metro Fairfield County were also relatively strong while Hartford's performance over the last year is a concern."

Norwich-New London also has the state's fastest growing job market in percentage terms, with 1.1% growth (1,400 positions) in the 12 months through August.

Sector Growth

Finance, insurance, and real estate was New Haven-Milford's strongest sector, expanding 0.76%. Trade grew 0.54% and professional and business services 0.21%.

The New Haven area contributed $44.1 billion to the state's GDP last year.

Finance also led all sectors in Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, growing 0.95%. Professional and business services grew 0.52% and information 0.47%.

At $90 billion, greater Hartford has the state's second largest economy. Finance (0.17%), government (0.09%), and durable goods manufacturing (0.01%) were the only sectors with growth last year.

The BEA reports GDP grew in 267 of 382 U.S. metropolitan areas in 2016, ranging from 8.1% in Lake Charles, Louisiana and Bend-Redmond, Oregon to -13.3% in Odessa, Texas.

Norwich-New London was the 37th fastest growing economy in the country, followed by New Haven-Milford (158th), Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk (204th), and greater Hartford (270th).

GDP for U.S. metropolitan areas grew 1.7% in 2016, led by growth in professional and business services, information services, and finance, insurance, and real estate.