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Connecticut Economic Digest: July 2002 issue
Making Sense of Census | Occupational Profile: Systems Analysts | Town/City Profile: Windham | First Business Training Network to Enter Phase Two Development | Housing Update

Making Sense of Census
By Mark Prisloe, Senior Economist, DECD

Recently released data from the Census 2000 containing demographic data, as well as selected information about social, economic, and housing characteristics, paints an often interesting and sometimes startling portrait of Connecticut - compared with the Connecticut we saw 10 years ago.

For starters, our population has grown to a level that now exceeds both 1980 and 1990 levels and has grown faster than all estimated inter-census projections for those decades. Connecticut's population grew 3.6 percent over the decade, to 3,405,565 in 2000, making it the 29th most populous state in the nation. Overall, the data suggests a Connecticut population that is older, more educated, more diverse, with less income (although still the highest in New England), more heavily mortgaged, commuting longer to work, and less employed.

The labor force shrank by two percent from 1,804,457 in 1990 to 1,765,319 in 2000. Those "not in the labor force" rose by 9 percent from 812,290 in 1990 to 886,997 in 2000. The economy has also undergone a structural shift. The number of service occupations increased significantly, while employment in manufacturing continued to decline from 1990 to 2000. Employment in manufacturing fell by 29 percent from 346,552 in 1990 to 246,607 in 2000. Median household income declined 0.4 percent, or $213, from an inflation-adjusted $54,148 in 1990 to $53,935 in 2000. Poverty increased for persons 18 and over from 5.6 to 7.0 percent.

General Demographics

Let us consider each of the demographic profiles in turn. In May, the Census Bureau released four tables for a number of states including Connecticut. Table DP-1, the first of the four "demographic profiles" focuses on "General Demographic Characteristics." For example, the male/female ratio in the population essentially has not changed. Males were 48.5 percent of the total in 1990 and 48.4 percent in 2000. Females comprised 51.5 percent in 1990 and 51.6 in 2000.

The age distribution of Connecticut residents is somewhat changed in 2000 from 1990, with greater representation at both ends of the age spectrum. The percentage of those under age 19 increased from 25.7 percent in 1990 to 27.2 percent in 2000, while those 65 and older also increased, from 13.6 to 13.8 percent. Age groups in the middle experienced some changes, with a smaller percentage of people aged 20 to 34, and a greater percentage aged 35 to 54. The percentage of the population between the ages of 55 and 64 was virtually unchanged.

The median age rose a dramatic nine percent from 34.4 in 1990 to 37.4 in 2000. Connecticut is the seventh oldest state in the nation, clearly a state with an aging population.

A comparison of population by race between 1990 and 2000 must consider that individuals could only report one race in the 1990 census but could report themselves as belonging to one or more races in the 2000 census. In Connecticut in 2000, 2.2 percent of the population belonged to two or more racial categories. Keeping this in mind, the white population declined 2.8 percent from 2,859,353 in 1990 to 2,780,355 in 2000. The Black or African American population increased from 274,269, or 8.3 percent of the total in 1990 to 309,843, or 9.1 percent of the total in 2000. Likewise, the American Indian and Alaska Native population increased 45 percent from 6,654, or 0.2 percent of the total, in 1990 to 9,639, or 0.3 percent of the total in 2000. The Asian population also saw a gain from 50,698, or 1.5 percent of the total in 1990 to 82,313, or 2.4 percent of the total in 2000. The Hispanic or Latino population (of any race) saw one of the largest increases of fully 50 percent from 213,116, or 6.5 percent of the total in 1990, to 320,323, or 9.4 percent of the total in 2000.

Data by type of household indicate that while the total number of households increased six percent from 1,230,479 in 1990 to 1,301,670 in 2000, the percentage of family households represented a smaller share of total households, down from 70 percent in 1990 to 67.7 percent in 2000. Householders living alone increased 15.8 percent from 297,161, 24.2 percent of the total, to 344,224, 26.4 percent of the total.

Seasonal housing increased 14.4 percent from 20,428 units to 23,379 units in 2000. Owner-occupied housing units edged up from 65.6 percent of the total in 1990 to 66.8 percent of the total in 2000. Homeowner and rental vacancy rates decreased, however.

Social Characteristics

Table DP-2 looks at selected social characteristics. Total population enrolled in school is up 13 percent. Elementary and high school enrollment jumped 20 percent from 493,500 in 1990 to 590,771 in 2000, while college or graduate school enrollment declined 16 percent in that same time period. Educational attainment, however, is up, with those age 25 and older holding a bachelor's degree now at 18.2 percent as compared to 16.2 percent in 1990. And those with a graduate or professional degree are now at 13.3 percent, up from 11.0 percent in 1990.

The married population (except separated) is up from 54.1 percent in 1990 to 55.0 percent in 2000. The divorced population, 15 years and over, is also up from 7.8 percent to 9.3 percent. Just over a third of grandparents living in a household have responsibility for one or more grandchildren under the age of 18.

Veteran status is down slightly from 14.4 percent of the civilian population to 12.1 percent in 2000. Disability data for 1990 and 2000 are not comparable due to changes in the census questions on disability. It is notable, however, that with the introduction of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), in 2000 the percent of the disabled population aged 21 to 64 years employed reached 63.1 percent, while the percent in the labor force with a work disability in 1990 was 49.3 percent.

Nativity and place of birth data indicate an influx of foreign born from 8.5 percent of the overall population in 1990 to 10.9 percent in 2000. Naturalized citizenship also increased from 4.4 percent to 5.3 percent. Europe and Latin America represent the largest contributors, but their respective shares have reversed with Europe decreasing from 53.0 percent to 38.2 percent of the total, and Latin America increasing from 21.8 percent to 34.7 percent. English as the only language spoken at home declined slightly from 84.8 percent to 81.7 percent, while Spanish and Asian languages have increased. The largest single ancestries reported in Connecticut remain Irish and Italian.

Economic Characteristics

One highlight of the selected economic characteristics about which much has been made in the media is the decline in median household income after adjusting for inflation. Connecticut is second in median household income only to New Jersey among states in the Northeast for which data has already been released, at $53,935 versus New Jersey's $55,146. Connecticut still ranks 1st in per capita income at $28,766. However, as the University of Connecticut's publication, The Connecticut Economy, Spring 2002 (Vol. 10, Number 2) issue reports, the latest Webster Bank Survey reveals that more than a third of the State's respondents expect incomes to increase. This bodes well for spending and the economic outlook in general and somewhat mitigates the statistical income decline. The modal household income class (single largest number) in 2000 was $50,000 to $74,999, followed by $35,000 to $49,999. These were also the modal classes among families. A decade ago the modal class was the same, but followed by the higher income class of $75,000 to $99,999.

Among the industries, there were gains in construction and public administration, and a new "Information" industry employed 55,202 in 2000. Most other industries experienced employment decreases, including agriculture, wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, and finance, insurance, and real estate. Overall, private wage and salary workers constituted the largest class of worker. Government workers were up 1.9 percent from 1990 to 2000. Self-employed workers were up 4.3 percent, and unpaid family workers down 18.6 percent.

Among those commuting to work, there was virtually no change in those using public transportation, 65,827 in 2000 compared with 65,805 in 1990. Carpooling was down 17.4 percent. By far, the largest single mode of commute was "drove alone," up a fraction to 1,312,700, representing 80 percent of all commuters, and up from 78 percent in 1990. Those who worked at home were up 14 percent. The small share of those who "walked" to work was down to 2.7 percent of total commuters in 2000 compared with 3.7 percent in 1990.

Housing Characteristics

The State's housing stock grew only 4.9 percent over the decade from 1,320,850 units in 1990 to 1,385,975 units in 2000, and it is aging. The number of housing units built in the prior decade was cut almost in half, representing only 8.6 percent of the total in 2000 compared with 15.8 percent in 1990. The modal class for "Year Structure Built" was "1940 to 1959," compared with "1939 or earlier" a decade ago. Single-family homes represented 58.9 percent of all units compared with 56.7 percent in 1990. Nearly three quarters (74 percent) of all households reported availability of one or two vehicles, up from 71 percent in 1990. Fewer, 16.6 percent, reported availability of three or more vehicles, compared with 18.9 percent in 1990.

In 2000, 52.4 percent of all Connecticut's houses were heated with oil compared with 54.4 percent in 1990. Gas remained the fuel of choice for another 29.0 percent in 2000 compared with 26.3 percent in 1990. Electricity's share declined slightly from 15.1 percent in 1990 to 14.6 percent in 2000. Solar energy use was negligible, but wood-heated homes dropped from 1.6 percent of the total in 1990 to 0.9 percent in 2000.

Finally, the median value of specified owner-occupied units was down in 2000 by 26.5 percent from an inflation-adjusted $227,164 in 1990 to $166,900 in 2000. Meanwhile median rent on specified renter-occupied units was down by 10.9 percent to $681 in 2000 compared with an inflation-adjusted $764 in 1990.

For more information on the 1990 and 2000 Census data for Connecticut and 2000 data for towns, visit http://www.state.ct.us/ecd/research/census2000/index.html

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Occupational Profile: Systems Analysts
By Christopher M. Dubois, Research Analyst, DOL

Introduction

The rapid spread of computers and technology has generated a demand for highly trained workers to design and develop systems and to incorporate new technologies into business processes.

What Do They Do?

Systems analysts help organizations realize the maximum benefit from their investment in equipment, personnel, and business processes. They plan ways to use computers to solve scientific, engineering and business problems. They determine the data that must be collected, the equipment needed for computations and the steps to be followed in processing the information. Once a computer system has been developed, they prepare reports to help clients understand the system.

The job duties of systems analysts may differ depending on the type of organization that employs them. Most systems analysts work to solve computer problems and to make the most of available technology in the office. Some analysts concentrate on data processing, some are responsible for programming and systems analysis, while some work with client/server applications development and Internet technology. Others may focus on networking, which entails keeping all the internal computers and systems connected. Depending on the size of the firm and its resources, an analyst may have responsibilities for setup and solutions for more than one aspect of, or all of, the existing technology.

Education and Training

When hiring a systems analyst, most organizations require a Bachelor's degree and have a preference toward technical degrees. However, job opportunities are plentiful for individuals with non-technical four-year degrees. Also important to prospective employers are individuals with relevant work experience and a broad background not only in technical skills, but communication and interpersonal skills as well. These individuals must be able to think logically, work independently or on a team, and communicate effectively with managers, programmers, clients and non-technical staff. Analysts with advanced degrees, such as an MBA in Management Information Systems, will find many job prospects with good pay.

Where Do They Work?

While systems analysts are increasingly employed in every industry of the economy, the services industry employs 46.2 percent of all systems analysts, and the finance, insurance and real estate industry employs a solid 30.2 percent. These systems analysts typically work in offices or labs for 40 hours a week. When deadlines need to be met or specific problems occur, it is not uncommon for them to work evenings and weekends.

Earnings

In any market the average annual wages for systems analysts are high. In the Connecticut job market, the 2001 average annual wage was $67,755. Nationally, the 2000 annual average wage was $61,210. In the Bridgeport Labor Market Area the 2001 average annual wage was $89,305, highest out of the six selected areas (chart). Entry-level wages are high as well when compared with other occupations. In Connecticut, the 2001 annual entry-level wage was $46,605. In the Bridgeport Labor Market Area, the annual entry-level wage was $54,575.

Employment Outlook

Systems analysts make up one of the fastest growing occupations in Connecticut. With an annual growth rate of 6.4 percent, this occupation is expected to grow more significantly than most occupations in the State. Its growth is driven by the rapid increase in computer and data processing services, which is projected to be one of the fastest growing industries in both the Connecticut and U.S. economies.

The number of annual new openings in Connecticut for this occupation is projected to be 712. In addition, many job openings will arise annually from the need to replace workers who move into managerial positions or other occupations or who leave the labor force. The annual openings due to this replacement factor are expected to be 69. These figures combine for a total of 781 openings annually, making for excellent job prospects.

Sources of additional information

Further information about computer careers is available from:


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Town/City Profile: Windham
By Brandon T. Hooker, Research Analyst, DOL

Introduction

Once deemed the "Thread City" because of its thriving thread and textile industries, today's Windham seeks economic prosperity through its industrial diversification. Since 1990, the town's ability to follow through on its developmental initiatives has led to an increase in industrial wages, a notable reduction in unemployment, and the influx of 958 new jobs by the year 2000.

Economy

Windham's push to expand its industrial composition has produced mixed results. Over the past ten years, the average annual wage paid at jobs in Windham increased over 35 percent (see table below), yet this total is $15,280 less than the statewide average. Two of the industrial sectors that experienced the greatest wage growth were wholesale trade and retail trade, increasing 64.1 percent and 45.9 percent, respectively. Positive gains also occurred in all other industries except for construction, which showed a decrease of almost nine percent.

Windham's ability to reduce its annual unemployment rates from a previous eleven-year high of 9.2 percent in 1992 to 4.3 percent in 2001 may be attributed in part to a decline in the number of residents in the labor force, but also in part to its cross-industrial job growth. From 1990 to 2000, the state/local government and services sectors supplied the largest number of jobs. Nearly thirty percent of the state government workforce is comprised of Eastern Connecticut State University faculty and staff. Employment increases also appeared in the manufacturing, federal government, and transportation, communications and utilities sectors. In contrast, construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, fire, insurance, and real estate, and agriculture lost jobs over this period. Overall, by the year 2000, Windham gained a total of 958 jobs despite a loss of 34 establishments.

Windham also issued new housing permits for all new privately owned, attached and detached single-family houses at a relatively consistent rate over the past 11 years. This steady level of permit activity is characteristic of all of Windham County. Even with totals dipping to a low of seven in 2000, Windham continued to supply an average of 18 new permits annually.

Outlook

The Windham Economic Development Task Force is committed to restoring the town's rich, colonial and Victorian past as a means of revitalizing the community and drawing private investment. The Downtown Streetscape Improvement project would give the downtown area a Victorian feel through the replacement of street trees and installation of new period lighting on Main Street. Windham is also planning to upgrade its means of transportation into the downtown area, with the introduction of the American Heritage Streetcar. This purchase aims to increase tourism, improve parking management, and create new job opportunities.

In recent news, construction on the Thread City Crossing Bridge has been completed and should help to increase historical awareness and provide newfound access to the town. Plans are also underway for the creation of both a magnet school in the old Capitol Theater as well as a walkway in Heritage Park. Local theatrical talent will gain the spotlight once again, as the Windham Theater Guild has remodeled the old Main Street Fleet Bank building. The new theater will house a 30-foot stage, provide seating for 200 to 300 people, and provide easy access to a courtyard and local restaurants. Measures such as these would allow Windham to keep its identity intact, as its economy and development initiatives make the transition from works in progress to "progress that works."

Windham Employment and Wages

Industry

 

1990

1999

2000

Units

Jobs

Wages

Units

Jobs

Wages

Units

Jobs

Wages

Total

591

9,688

$22,189

563

10,237

$28,427

557

10,646

$30,128

Agriculture

6

81

$18,122

6

94

$21,568

5

80

$22,161

Construction

61

240

$34,740

34

90

$25,916

34

88

$31,651

Manufacturing

32

1,570

$26,323

36

1,654

$35,395

33

1,614

$36,208

Trans.,Comm. & Utilities

24

540

$28,199

15

555

$35,083

16

571

$37,672

Wholesale Trade

29

256

$26,615

21

174

$36,996

20

150

$43,677

Retail Trade

176

2,450

$11,866

146

2,258

$16,905

144

2,414

$17,314

Finance, Ins. & Real Estate

40

280

$24,667

33

276

$30,179

35

278

$31,696

Services

184

2,528

$21,845

226

2,910

$27,902

226

3,110

$28,692

Federal Government

10

81

$30,499

10

80

$37,880

10

120

$32,241

State Government

12

820

$32,243

17

1,097

$34,634

17

1,138

$45,817

Local Government

16

841

$25,767

18

1,028

$31,533

16

1,062

$30,921


Windham Trends

Economic Indicators \ Year

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

Population

21,869

21,863

21,760

21,702

21,660

21,597

21,519

21,436

21,316

22,857

NA

Labor Force

11,265

10,985

10,554

10,134

10,341

10,235

10,125

9,878

9,867

10,115

9,977

Employed

10,393

9,976

9,783

9,442

9,556

9,525

9,531

9,454

9,466

9,797

9,548

Unemployed

872

1,009

771

692

785

710

594

424

401

318

429

Unemployment Rate

7.7

9.2

7.3

6.8

7.6

6.9

5.9

4.3

4.1

3.1

4.3

New Housing Permits

19

17

18

10

18

12

13

23

36

7

26

Retail Sales ($mil.)

114.2

116.9

123.8

128.7

118.9

115.5

118.6

122.1

138.4

141.1

149.3

Sources

To explore future happenings and events, contact the Town of Windham at (860) 465-3007 or check their Web site at http://www.windhamct.com. Also, visit the Connecticut Department of Labor's Web site at http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us or call (860) 263-6275 for the most up-to-date labor market information.

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First Business Training Network to Enter Phase Two Development
July 2002 Economic Digest Article

The Housatonic Education for Advanced Technology (HEAT) became the first network, among the 11 identified as Connecticut Business Training Networks (CBTN), to enter the second-year development phase garnering a $25,000 grant. As one component of Connecticut's Industry Cluster Initiative, the CBTN program promotes industry working together with government to overcome barriers to growth, supporting companies to identify employee training needs and develop cost effective solutions for improving worker skills.

Launched in 1999 as a CBTN, HEAT is comprised of 10 electronic and equipment manufacturers from the Danbury, Brookfield, Bethel and Georgetown areas: Allied Sinterings, Inc.; Ambel Precision Manufacturing; A. Papish/Radial Bearing; B.F. Goodrich; Contact Systems, Inc.; Dade Behring, Inc.; Dupont Photomasks, Inc.; Imperial Electronic Assembly, Inc.; International Creative Data Industries, Inc.; and Norco Inc. HEAT is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation that serves as the organizational center for the network.

In its two and a half years in operation, the CBTN program has helped 87 businesses employing over 12,800 workers. A 2001 survey of CBTN companies revealed that the vast majority (83 percent) found that the program had a positive impact, with more than 60 percent indicating that employees had received training. Nearly 90 percent would recommend the program to others.

For more information about the CBTN program, visit www.decd.org or www.cbia.com.

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Housing Update

Commissioner James F. Abromaitis of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development today announced that Connecticut communities authorized 957 new housing units in May 2002, a 13.8 percent increase compared to May of 2001 when 841 units were authorized.

The Department further indicated that the 957 units permitted in May 2002 represent a 9.8 percent decrease from the 1,061 units permitted in April 2002. The year-to-date permits are up 7.4 percent, from 3,736 through May 2001, to 4,014 through May 2002.

The New London Labor Market Area added 119 new housing units, an increase of 43 units compared to a year ago. Norwich led all Connecticut communities with 41 units, followed by Berlin with 25 and Wallingford with 24 units. From a county perspective, New London County had the largest percentage gain (48.8 percent) compared to a year ago.

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Last Updated: October 15, 2002