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January 31, 2017

Report: Financial services sector key to CT's economy

Connecticut's economy relies on the financial services industry more than any other New England state, with the sector’s employment making up 14.1 percent of the state’s overall workforce.

That's one of several conclusions reached in a new study of the six New England states released Tuesday in Boston by the New England Council, the nation's oldest regional business association.

Using largely 2015 and 2014 data, the study finds that 14.1 percent of all employment in Connecticut was based in this sector in 2015. Meantime, wages from Connecticut workers in banking, insurance and other asset managment jobs totaled $35.1 billion, representing 22 percent of all wages paid in the state in 2015. The industry also contributed to about 20 percent of the state’s overall GDP.

Connecticut also is the national leader in insurance for payroll and employment. Six of the top 20 health and life insurers are located here, the report states. This $12 billion industry is far and away the anchor in Connecticut, which leads much of the nation with about 9 percent of life and health and property and casualty insurers constituted and/or domiciled here.

"The top 20 life and health insurers operating in Connecticut wrote direct premiums totaling nearly $11 billion and had admitted assets of $449 billion in 2014," the study states. "The top 20 property and casualty insurers operating in Connecticut wrote direct premiums totaling approximately $1 billion and had admitted assets of $131 billion in 2014."

Among New England states, Connecticut also boasts the highest average direct wages at $188,741, with Massachusetts a close second at $166,524. Massachusetts, however, actually had more total direct, indirect and induced jobs, at 478,960 compared to Connecticut's 320,990.

With respect to credit unions, Connecticut ranks second, after Massachusetts, boasting 107 credit unions, $9.9 billion in assets and 855,000 memberships.

The Nutmeg State also is a "large player" in the asset management sector, ranking in the top 10 nationally in terms of the number of private equity deals, the number of private equity firms and the total value of equity invested for the previous five years ended in 2015.

Across new England, the financial services industry has proven to be “resilient in times of stress and recession," the study states. "It has not experienced volatility seen by certain other industries."

For example, nationally, total employment in the financial services industry declined by 7.4 percent between 2007 and 2010, but industry employment in New England only fell 6.5 percent, the report states.

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