Dan Haar: A factory job boom in CT? New numbers say yes

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Here’s a quirk you might not believe if you lived through the state’s loss of 90,000 manufacturing jobs, more than a third of its total, between 1999 and 2016: Connecticut gained 2,900 factory positions in 2017.

That’s only the third annual gain since the 1980s, and it’s the largest one-year gain in more than a generation.

Happy Days are here again? Not so fast. The state as a whole added just 2,300 jobs in 2017 even with the manufacturing jump — meaning all other sectors combined actually lost 600 jobs for the full year. That makes two straight years with lame growth, a fraction of the nation’s pace.

So it’s a mixed picture, overall lousy, based on Friday’s annual revision of the jobs numbers we’ve been following every month from the Department of Labor. Economist Donald Klepper-Smith of DataCore Partners reported Monday that Connecticut ranked No. 43 in job creation in 2017, behind all other states in the Northeast.

The bright spot? When was the last time manufacturing outpaced all other sectors combined for a full year in Connecticut? My guess after following this for more than 25 years: never, or at least since Sam Colt and Oliver Winchester set out to win the West.

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