Statistics rained down in a sobering downpour as lawmakers, business leaders, and academics took part in a roundtable hosted by Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney and House Majority Leader Brendan Sharkey in Hartford this past Friday.

Unemployment figures at levels not seen since the Great Depression; the construction, manufacturing, and information sectors continuing to decline; shellshocked urban areas.

Nonetheless, the purpose of the roundtable discussion was to generate proposals for growing jobs in the state.

Promoting Connecticut exports was one suggestion that gained broad support.

“I think everyone around this table is very interested in growing the economic pie because that’s the only way you support the service industry and the community in full,” CBIA president and CEO John Rathgeber (pictured above) told the group.

“So I think we have an opportunity to change the direction of the state and to ensure that we have those niches for jobs that are related to exporting goods and services and creating more.”

Rathgeber's points were seconded by Connecticut Technology Council president Matthew Nemerson, who said the state should follow the example set by Arizona, Texas and Florida, who adapt their economic strategies to take advantage of global investment dollars.