Ups, Downs in State’s Economic News
A mix of economic news for Connecticut this week reflects the roller-coaster ride of our slow recovery from the recession.
On the upside, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) said our state’s economy grew faster than most others’ in 2011, albeit at a modest 2% pace.
Also good was the announcement that Tronox Inc., a global mineral company, will establish its global corporate headquarters in Stamford.
But the State Comptroller issued a report affirming that Connecticut is likely heading toward a $200 million budget deficit this year.
And Amerbelle Textiles said that it was closing, after nearly a century and a half in business.
The BEA credited Connecticut with a GSP gain of 2% in 2011, the ninth-fastest in the U.S.
Governor Malloy said of the GSP news: “Two things are clear: this is good news, but we have a lot more work to do.”
Only Massachusetts did better than Connecticut among New England states, and our pace was well ahead of New York’s (1.1%) and New Jersey’s (-0.5%).
“It is very good that our GSP growth was among the 10 best in the U.S.,” said CBIA Economist Pete Gioia, “but our overall rate of recovery from pre-recession levels is still below the U.S. average.”
State Comptroller Kevin Lembo said this year’s projected state budget gap “is a direct reflection of the region’s economy—which has improved on a slow and staggered path.”
Gioia said state spending is also still an issue. “The state should continue to find cost savings and efficiencies, including the savings promised in the state employee union concessions agreement, to keep providing public services in a sustainable way and avoid additional tax increases that hurt our economy.”
With the help of a $3 million loan from the state, Tronox will create up to 100 jobs within three years as part of its $10 million capital investment in Connecticut.
Tronox is one of the largest global titanium dioxide (TiO2) producers and marketers with operations in the United States, Europe, South Africa, and Australia. TiO2 pigment is used to whiten and brighten pigments in a broad range of residential and commercial products, such as paint, plastics, paper, inks, food and cosmetics.
As The Hartford Courant noted, “The last textile mill in the Rockville section of Vernon will close at the end of August, ending the town’s 198-year run as part of the fabric of America’s garment industry.”
Amerbelle owner Douglas Rimsky said the economy, lower labor costs overseas and more environmental regulations here overwhelmed the company’s efforts to stay afloat.
And so, Connecticut’s roller coaster ride continues.
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