Economic growth has swung to this CT area since the pandemic – why? | Bot To News


Despite last year’s recovery from pandemic shutdowns in 2020, Fairfield and Hartford counties still haven’t fully recovered their combined annual gross domestic products from 2019, according to estimates released last week by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Fairfield and Hartford counties, which together account for 63 percent of Connecticut’s economic activity, had a $5.2 billion shortfall in 2021 compared to their combined 2019 GDP.

Connecticut’s economy was hit hard earlier this year by the micron version of COVID-19, which delayed delivery times for some of the state’s defense contractors and other large private sector employers. In Connecticut, employers continue to struggle to fill available positions at the pay they are willing or able to offer, hindering further economic recovery.

The job shortage is particularly painful for employers in health and social services. The Conference Board counted nearly 18,000 job postings in the health and social services sector in Connecticut in October, nearly double the number of retail openings in the second place.

Using pandemic funding, Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration has launched new workforce training programs to train more people for jobs that are in highest demand. On Monday, Lamont announced $70 million in support for CareerConneCT, which provides free training and helps people find jobs.

Separately last week, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention awarded $32.3 million to Connecticut to encourage more people to enter the health care professions, with U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd, taking credit for making the national grant program possible in her roles as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and the subcommittee that oversees CDC funding. Connecticut Health Horizons will begin next month with a focus on employment needs in the nursing sector.

“I think we all recognize that we’re going to have to expand the talent pool if we’re going to be able to meet the needs, along with obviously providing the training and education that people need to qualify for these roles,” said Mark Argosh, president of Social Venture Partners CT, during a meeting of the governor’s task force last week, chaired by Argosh.

Yale-New Haven Health alone listed about 2,400 vacancies as of Monday, trailing only statewide Hartford Healthcare, which had more than 3,000 vacancies listed on its website. By comparison, Electric Boat Shipyard had about 1,400 job openings at its Groton-area facilities, with the General Dynamics subsidiary the company’s largest employer in Connecticut.

Yale University had about 700 job vacancies as of Monday, with several of those positions focused on medicine and life sciences. Of the employers outside the healthcare industry, the only ones with greater labor needs were Electric Boat, Amazon, Cigna and Raytheon Technologies, which owns Pratt & Whitney and Collins Aerospace.

Alex.Soule@scni.com; @casoulman



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