December 22, 2017

Private sector will continue to lead job growth


What's your 2018 economic outlook for Connecticut?

Moderate Growth

How many jobs will Connecticut add?


What will Connecticut's unemployment rate be at the end of 2018?


What type of GDP growth will Connecticut see in 2018?


Which industry will add the most jobs?

Other services

Which industry will lose the most jobs?


You'd never guess it from the headline news of a protracted state budget crisis and exodus of corporate headquarters, but Connecticut reached a jobs milestone in 2017. Even assuming no further job growth in the final months of the year, the average annual private sector job count will top 1,453,000 — a new record for the state. The fact that the state has yet to recover all the jobs lost during the Great Recession reflects drag forces from the public sector, not lack of trying by private enterprise.

2018 is an election year, with the statehouse and all General Assembly seats up for grabs. Presumably, elected officials will be on their best behavior to avoid another fiscal train wreck, which could only bode well (or better at least) for the broader health of the economy.

Expanding global markets and low commodity prices will add tinder to the U.S. and Connecticut economies. But in this Land of Steady Habits, the favorable backdrop will likely translate into more of the ponderous growth we're far too used to.

Expect Connecticut to add about 6,500 jobs in 2018 — a bit faster pace than we've seen in the past couple of years, but only half the gains achieved in the initial years of recovery from the Great Recession of 2008. The unemployment rate will inch down, too, but not by much: from about 4.7 percent in 2017 to 4.5 percent in 2018.

The catchall "other services" category will lead the industries in job gains. This group includes a hodgepodge of difficult-to-classify service jobs — personal care, pet care, dating services and much more — that are often the province of enterprising entrepreneurs, who by their efforts remake the structure of the economy.

Don't expect many new government jobs, however, as the struggle continues to get the state's fiscal house in order. That rebuilding will become even more challenging should reasoned deliberation fail and federal lawmakers enact a blue-state income surtax.

Read more forecasts here.

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