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Southeastern Connecticut economy gets low marks in national report

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NEW LONDON — Southeastern Connecticut’s economy has been ranked as one of the worst in the nation.

Research group AreaDevelopment analyzed economic and workforce data for 379 metropolitan areas from 2012 and 2013.

“The goal was to identify which cities across America are emerging as front-runners in this new era of economic development possibilities,” the group said.

Out of all 379 areas, The Norwich-New London area ranked 364th for “economic strength indicators.” The area received an overall ranking of 285, which was actually better than New Haven’s ranking of 328. The Greater Hartford area ranked the best out of Connecticut’s areas.

Area Overall Rank “Prime Workforce” Indicators “Economic Strength” Indicators “Recession-Busting Cities” Indicators “Year-Over-Year Growth Cities” Indicators
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford 169 254 147 296 103
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk 254 286 223 358 153
Norwich-New London 285 35 364 322 216
New Haven 328 308 301 365 207

 

AreaDevelopment used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Census American Community Survey and Moody’s Analytics.

The overall rankings were split into four categories: prime workforce, economic strength, recession-busting cities and year-over year growth cities.

Prime workforce indicators focused on the workforce between ages 18 and 44 with a Bachelor’s degree or higher; as well as hourly earnings.

Economic strength indicators focused on per capita good manufacturing practice, manufacturing and goods-producing employment, employment growth and local unemployment rates.

 For recession-busting cities indicators AreaDevelopment “looked at only the economic indicators ranking change from 2007 (just around the beginning of the recession) against the most recent data.

 Local unemployment data from 2012 to 2013 was compared in order to come up with year-over-year growth.

Coming in at number one was the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara area in California, the heart of Silicon Valley. With companies like Facebook, Google, HP and Cisco; AreaDevelopment cites “highly skilled workers” as the area’s greatest strength.

Several industries in Southeastern Connecticut have been making headlines recently, most notably Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casinos.

The Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes have been facing declining revenues and will soon see competition from Massachusetts and New York. Both tribes are now pushing to expand gambling in the state and keep customers in Connecticut, but those plans are facing opposition.

The area has been helped by Electric Boat in Groton. Earlier this year they announced plans to hire 600 new workers as part of a $31 million expansion. The company is preparing to move into the old Pfizer facility on Kings Highway. EB received a $10 million dollar loan from the state in October 2014 for the expansion.

The president of Electric Boat said earlier this year that it has been hard to find people with basic science, math and mechanical skills to fill the thousands of jobs needed to build submarines in the coming years.

Click here to read AreaDevelopment’s full report.