Four straight months of job growth, 7,000 jobs added this summer, nine out of 10 jobs recovered since the recession, and 33,000 jobs gained in 12 months.
“Those are good numbers,” says CBIA president and CEO Joe Brennan, “and they should encourage good state policymaking decisions to keep us going in the right direction.”
Brennan is serving on a new state commission created by the legislature to find ways to build a climate in which Connecticut’s job creators can and will expand job opportunities.
In fact, that Commission on Economic Competitiveness is just one of several groups now diving into the same waters—how to make this state stronger for job growth and a better economic future.
“It’s been a long struggle for jobs in Connecticut,” said Brennan.
That's true; we’re one of just 12 states that hasn’t fully recovered from the recession, even as the nation overall hit the 100% mark nearly two years ago.
“The good news is, we are gaining momentum and these solid numbers should give us a lot of hope,” he said.
Signs of hope include manufacturing jobs that have increased two months in a row, as have those in business and professional services, education and health services, and government.
But the fluctuations in the nation’s markets have been reflected in the performance of Connecticut’s financial services sector, with one very good month (July, 1,100 jobs gained) immediately followed by one pretty down month (700 jobs lost in August).
Other industry sectors in the state are up-and-down as well.
Which means, said Brennan, that we’re not out of the woods yet.
“The message that should be clear to all of the state task forces, commissions and groups exploring how to make Connecticut more competitive is that we need to fuel our momentum with policies that will support consistent job and economic growth,” said Brennan.
Last week, the competitiveness commission had its first meeting, as did the State Tax Study Panel, which held a public hearing to gather ideas on how to make state tax policy better for job creators.
Another commission, the Commission on Connecticut’s Leadership in Corporation and Business Law, will soon recommend a 10-year plan to make us the leading state in the country for businesses and corporations to locate.
On the state spending side, the legislature has directed the state budget office to examine the recommendations of the Connecticut Institute for the 21st Century on how to make government work better and more cost-effectively.
Businesses continue to cite the state’s shaky finances as reasons for a lack of confidence in Connecticut.
All of these reform efforts should come together, said Brennan, with the understanding that Connecticut has enormous potential that good policy decisions can help bring about.
“Our economic recovery isn’t complete, and our work can’t be done, until we develop policies that will enable us to achieve and then exceed our potential.”