In New England’s uneven economic recovery, Connecticut is looking more like a valley than a peak.
True, we aren’t the only state in the region struggling to recover from the Great Recession. While Connecticut has recovered 80.3% of jobs lost in the recession, Rhode Island is doing only slightly better, at 83.4%. Maine lags both states at 73.3%.
The leader in New England’s job recovery is Massachusetts.
Powered by exceptional growth in the greater Boston area, our neighbor to the north has recovered a whopping 255.2% of jobs lost.
Vermont paces the U.S. at 151.7%, and New Hampshire has recovered 135.6% of the jobs lost.
Connecticut’s recovery of 55,600 jobs pales against Massachusetts’ 360,500 jobs.
If we had kept up with the Massachusetts' juggernaut, we would have added nearly 304,000 jobs by now, probably enough to create fiscal surpluses rather than the fiscal challenges we face today.
To boost our own economic performance, Connecticut state lawmakers must look seriously at Massachusetts’ success and how it was achieved.
We know that neighboring states have successfully lowered their business taxes and business costs.
Increasingly aggressive economic development efforts in competitor states have also been enhanced with marketing campaigns, including television advertisements, to get companies to stay and locate there.
Connecticut lawmakers must look seriously at Massachusetts' success and how it was achieved.
Those states are not just graduating university students with technical skills but also managing to keep them in the metropolitan areas where they finished school.
Two recent measures that the Connecticut General Assembly approved are steps in the right direction.
One allows Connecticut’s small and midsize manufacturers to claim the Manufacturing Apprenticeship Tax Credit, previously only available to larger C corporations.
Another, which creates market-based sourcing rules, allows businesses in the service industry to locate in Connecticut without the risk of double taxation on their sales to customers in other states.
These types of measures need to be the norm in Connecticut, not the exception, if we want to pick up the pace.
Pete Gioia is an economist with CBIA. Follow him on Twitter @CTEconomist.