CBIA Report Shows State's Manufacturers as Potent Economic Force with

Vast Potential

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 manufacturing industry.

Manufacturing has long been a major part of Connecticut's economy, and while it looks vastly different today than it did for decades, it remains a potent economic force. Global economic changes, combined with Connecticut's competitive advantages could lead to a new era of growth for manufacturing in the state if some key challenges are addressed.

In Connecticut Manufacturing: Building on the Past, Creating Our Future, CBIA and DataCorePartners show that, while manufacturing in the state has vastly changed over the last several decades, it remains an economic driving force with good potential for jobs growth.

"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."

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

"With global and national economic changes fueling manufacturing's resurgence in the United States, manufacturing can help the state of Connecticut rise from the remnants of the recession," says Don Klepper-Smith, chief economist and director of research at DataCorePartners.

The report, sponsored by Farmington Bank, Connecticut Light & Power Company, and J.H. Cohn LLP, offers strategies that can help make Connecticut more competitive for manufacturing.

Included in those strategies are talent development, more robust research and development, better aligning business costs, updating transportation infrastructures and increasing export support, and changing regulatory policy so that the companies can be successful in today's business climate.

"More and more US firms are keeping their manufacturing needs in the country," says John Patrick, president and CEO of Farmington Bank. "Connecticut, with its expansive produce diversity, export strength, and highly skilled workers, has the opportunity to take advantage of the new influx of manufacturing needs for the country."

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
  • State technology & science index
  • Manufacturing location quotient
  • Employment 10-year percent change
  • Gross state product10-year percent change
  • Costs for industrial electricity
  • State and local business taxes on new investment
  • 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."

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CBIA is Connecticut's largest business organization, with 10,000 member companies. For more information, please contact Meaghan MacDonald (860.244.1957; meaghan.macdonald@cbia.com) or visit cbia.com/newsroom.