Since 2008, Connecticut has struggled to find ways to recover from a devastating recession. A new CBIA report shows that there may be no more promising way for our economy to grow than by cultivating the state’s manufacturers.

In Connecticut Manufacturing: Building on the Past, Creating Our Future, CBIA and DataCore Partners show that, while manufacturing in the state has vastly changed over the last several decades, it remains a potent economic force with vast potential.

New opportunity

In fact, after decades of increasing uncertainty over their future, Connecticut manufacturers could be entering a new era of opportunity.

“With costs beginning to rise overseas, and productivity and innovation continuing to advance here at home, bringing manufacturing operations back to the U.S. has become advantageous for many companies,” says John Rathgeber, CBIA president and CEO.

“As a state with a long tradition of leadership in advanced manufacturing, Connecticut must recognize this as an opportunity to position itself for a share of those private-sector investments and the good jobs and high wages they bring.”

Exploring the state of manufacturing in Connecticut, the report—sponsored by Farmington Bank, Connecticut Light & Power Co., and J.H. Cohn LLP--examines its strengths and challenges, and recommends a strategy to improve the state’s competitiveness for manufacturers.

Connecticut is home to nearly 5, 000 manufacturing companies that employ approximately 165,000 people and produce a vast array of products.

Competitive benchmark

A new CBIA/DataCore Partners index contained in the report, which placed Connecticut as 30th in the nation for manufacturing competitiveness, was created as a way to benchmark progress in manufacturing within Connecticut going forward.

While there are many options for the process, the nine data points chosen are key to Connecticut’s economy.

They are: value added per manufacturing production worker, exports per capita, sate technology & science index, manufacturing location quotient, employment 10-year percent change, gross state product – 10-year percent change, costs for industrial electricity, state and local business taxes on new investment, and state and local debt as percentage of state and local spending.

While there is work that needs to be done to increase the state’s standing, we are seeing progress.

“We are pleased to see that the recent focus on job creation by both the Malloy administration and a bipartisan legislature will help manufacturers create jobs here, and we are encouraged at the recent creation of a bipartisan manufacturing caucus by the General Assembly,” says Peter Gioia, economist for CBIA.

“While we have work to still do in reducing costs and regulatory burdens, these are important steps that will help differentiate us as a manufacturing-friendly state, becoming a location of choice for manufacturers.”