Department of Labor Home Connecticut Labor Market Information Home Connecticut Labor Market Information
Home  About  Contacts  FAQ  Glossary  Sitemap  Search  
LMI Calendar   
Connecticut Economic Digest: June 2001 issue
Connecticut's Bustling Cities | Town/ City Profile: Hartford | Occupational Profile: Registered Nurses | Industry Clusters | Housing Update

Connecticut's Bustling Cities
By Joseph Slepski, Research Analyst

Over the past two decades development in Connecticut's suburban towns has been occurring at an impressive rate. From the dawning of the gaming industries in the towns in southeastern Connecticut to the building of huge shopping malls in towns such as Farmington, Manchester, Meriden, Milford, Enfield and Trumbull, the impression exists that new development has ceased to exist in the largest cities in the State. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, Connecticut's largest cities, Hartford, New Haven, Waterbury, Bridgeport and Stamford have all experienced or are experiencing major development projects. The cities are simply not being neglected by builders. It can be argued that the large cities are becoming attractive to developers based on recent happenings. Whether it is due to tax incentives, availability of land, or cooperative efforts between industry and government, several projects have been or will be undertaken.

Hartford

As recently as the 1960's, one could walk down the streets of Hartford and pass a plethora of movie theaters: The Strand, E.M. Lowes, Rialto, Capitol, State and Poli, just to name a few. For more than thirty years, however, there were no theaters in the downtown district. In the summer of 2000, the Crown Theater opened for business. This 17-screen multiplex sits on land that formerly housed the Veeder-Root plant. This land was vacant for years, but now is an area of bustling activity. The city of Hartford has also seen the construction of the Learning Corridor. This project, which is being coordinated by Trinity College, features new elementary schools, a performing arts center, and other educational support facilities. Small retailers have also moved into the area near Hartford Hospital. The arts community will be served by the 2002 completion of the Bushnell II, a performance venue for smaller productions that are not a good strategic fit for the main performance hall.

New Haven

New Haven is seeing some new developments as well. Science Park is under new management and this cooperative effort between the city, State and Yale University is once again serving as an incubator for small start-up firms headed by city residents. The New Haven Coliseum has just undergone a two million dollar renovation and now houses professional hockey, in addition to various other entertainment events. The Chapel Square Mall, long a symbol of urban neglect, has experienced an upswing, with new stores coming in as tenants. Downtown New Haven is seeing an ever-increasing number of restaurants, small shops and entertainment venues. New activity is also happening in the health care field, as both St. Raphael and Yale-New Haven Hospitals offer more services to the public. The city of New Haven, seeking to capitalize on its relationship with Yale University, has begun a major effort to woo small high-tech firms to locate in the city.

Stamford

Stamford has been bustling in recent years. The University of Connecticut campus has relocated to downtown, and this move has been so successful that the school is now offering the MBA degree at this location. The financial services industry has expanded, as evidenced by the new construction going on at UBS Warburg, which should lead to 500 new jobs. Stamford has also seen a good number of new retail stores and restaurants moving into the city. On a lighter side, many out-of-towners are flocking into Stamford to taste the world famous Krispy Kreme doughnuts. A convenience store in the city is the only outlet in the entire State to sell this product. As a result, Stamford Police have had to direct traffic at this previously unremarkable location, and the owner of the convenience store has to personally make several trips each day to New York City to procure these delicacies.

Waterbury

Waterbury has seen its share of developments as well. Most prominent is the late 1997 opening of the Brass Mill Center Mall. This shopping mall, which was unusual in that it reversed the trend of malls opening in only suburban towns, has provided for over 2,000 jobs. It also spawned the opening of a shopping center directly across the street. The mall itself is still attracting new businesses. The end of 2000 saw the opening of a Hops Restaurant and a new clothing store opened in March of 2001. Downtown Waterbury has seen the opening of a new state courthouse and the Rowland Government Center, which provides office space for 500 State government workers from agencies such as the Departments of Motor Vehicles and Mental Retardation.

Bridgeport

The city of Bridgeport has experienced major developments as well. Everyone is familiar with Harbor Yard, the home of the Bridgeport Bluefish baseball team, which is the most successful minor league baseball facility in the nation. The fall of 2001 will see the opening of the Bridgeport Arena, a 10,000-seat facility that will house the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League and the Fairfield University men's and women's basketball teams. New office development is taking place at the Harbor Place complex. A baseball museum is also being built. Finally Beardsley Zoo, the only zoo in the entire State, has undergone an expansion as well.

Build It and They Will Come

Even though the glitz and glamour seem to have gone to the suburban towns, the large cities in Connecticut are still attractive to developers. The successful completion of these projects will inevitably lead to more projects and jobs. Whether the large cities can fully resume their old role as the hubs of activity is uncertain, but these cities will continue to play a major role in the lives of the population around them.


Return to Top

TOWN/CITY PROFILE: HARTFORD
By Brandon T. Hooker, Research Analyst, DOL

Introduction

Hartford's commitment to economic renewal is beginning to pave the way for industrial growth, increased wages, and a decline in unemployment throughout the State's capital. Look for a revamped downtown area in the near future, as Governor John G. Rowland's "Six Pillars of Progress" development proposal takes shape and fosters future interest in the capital city.

Economy

In 1999, Hartford's rebounding economy pushed annual industry wages twenty-five percent higher than those of 1992. The finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE) industries reported the highest annual wages per worker at $67,829, followed by the manufacturing sector, which averaged $59,850 per year. From 1992 to 1999, every industrial sector except agriculture reported increases in their respective wages.

Hartford's unemployment rate exceeded the U.S. rate by two percentage points in 1999, yet produced over 4,000 jobs for the city between 1998 and 1999. The local government, FIRE, and service sectors fueled Hartford's recent job growth. Positive gains were also attributed to the resurgence of the state government, transportation, communications and utilities, and retail trade industries. However, from 1992 to 1999, the city experienced significant job losses in its federal government, wholesale trade, and manufacturing sectors, leaving the city with about 12,000 fewer jobs overall.

Despite a healthy economy, Hartford is still finding it hard to draw new residents and keep former ones from leaving the capital city. From 1990 to 1999, Hartford's general population and labor force lost 11,372 citizens and 10,730 workers, respectively. In that time, increasing numbers of Hartford's middle class residents have made their homes in surrounding suburban communities. Fortunately, population losses did little to affect the city's retail receipts, which rose 39 percent over the ten-year period, tallying $1.56 billion in 1999 alone.

Hartford's annual housing permit numbers fluctuated considerably, from a high of 405 in 1990 to a ten-year low of 3 in 1995. The issuance of over 400 new housing permits in 1990 was extraordinary, primarily due to increased multi-unit building construction throughout the city. However, after the decline in the mid-1990s, the city's future growth looks promising as new housing permits have again reached healthy levels in recent years.

Hartford Employment and Wages

Industry

1992

1998

1999

Units

Jobs

Wages

Units

Jobs

Wages

Units

Jobs

Wages

Total

4,003

135,890

$37,858

3,455

119,882

$46,530

3,472

123,887

$47,499

Agriculture

6

92

$21,075

14

42

$18,891

15

65

$17,514

Construction

206

1,762

$39,657

178

1,580

$40,681

188

1,687

$44,723

Manufacturing

122

5,417

$40,987

105

4,272

$52,770

104

3,825

$59,850

Trans.,Comm. & Utilities

108

7,106

$32,873

103

6,162

$40,889

102

6,365

$42,245

Wholesale Trade

305

5,516

$42,634

229

3,689

$57,099

223

3,418

$45,169

Retail Trade

788

9,198

$17,841

617

7,115

$19,057

635

7,650

$19,839

Finance, Ins. & Real Estate

482

41,700

$48,148

448

33,718

$63,327

463

34,040

$67,829

Services

1,795

40,889

$32,523

1,621

41,860

$37,417

1,599

44,039

$38,082

Federal Government

58

5,315

$37,703

36

3,869

$45,365

37

3,788

$48,307

State Government

101

11,106

$35,329

67

9,868

$48,859

70

11,220

$47,784

Local Government

25

7,757

$36,924

29

7,678

$42,848

29

7,763

$37,693


Economic Indicators \ Year

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

Population

139,739

138,983

137,938

136,818

135,395

133,804

132,829

131,975

131,523

128,367

Labor Force

63,336

62,393

59,517

56,236

52,899

56,110

55,897

55,339

53,010

52,606

Employed

57,525

55,259

52,026

50,166

47,474

50,361

49,990

49,782

49,403

49,330

Unemployed

5,811

7,134

7,491

6,070

5,425

5,749

5,907

5,557

3,607

3,276

Unemployment Rate

9.2

11.4

12.6

10.8

10.3

10.2

10.6

10.0

6.8

6.2

New Housing Permits

405

84

155

39

21

3

27

57

92

76

Retail Sales ($mil.)

1,116

1,183

1,100

1,110

1,267

1,341

1,494

1,458

1,504

1,562

Outlook

Downtown Hartford is expected to show a resurgence of energy in 2002, with the emergence of a new retail mall, renovated office space, and a relocated Capital Community College (CCC). These new attractions will be housed in the former G. Fox and Co. department store building located at 960 Main Street. Business professionals, CCC students, and retail shoppers will benefit from the completion of a 2,200 space parking facility on the corner of Market and Talcott Streets. The Old State House may also renew public interest in the city of Hartford. A $25 million proposal would fund the redesign of its first floor, as well as expand its current underground exhibit areas. Adriaen's Landing construction is underway with demolitions planned this year for the Connecticut Natural Gas and the back of the Hartford Times buildings. In their place will be new restaurants, retail outlets, and a convention center designed to draw more revenue into the area.

In recent news, a $120 million agreement has been finalized between the State, the city, and Aetna Inc. to renovate the Hartford Civic Center shopping mall. Northland Investment Corporation has been contracted to convert the mall into a street-oriented apartment and retail complex. These as well as other expansionary measures will seek to fuel economic expansion, increase historical awareness, and more importantly, return a sense of identity to our State's capital.

Return to Top

OCCUPATIONAL PROFILE: REGISTERED NURSES
By Wanda Izdebski, Research Assistant

Introduction

Health care is one of the largest industries in the country and nurses are important members of the health care team. The occupation of registered nurses is not only one of the ten occupations projected to have the largest numbers of new jobs both nationally and in Connecticut, but there is also currently a nationwide nursing shortage. Although there are nearly 30,000 registered nurses employed in the State, the Nursing Career Center of Connecticut estimated that Connecticut needs 900 to 1,000 new nurses per year but currently trains only about 550 to 600. Recently the Hartford Business Journal reported, "According to a 1999 Connecticut Hospital Association survey, registered nurse vacancy rates for acute-care hospitals in the state have doubled from a low of 3.8 percent in 1997 to a high of 8 percent in 1999."

What Do They Do?

Registered nurses (RNs) work to promote health, prevent disease, and help patients cope with illness. They are advocates and health educators for patients, families, and communities. When providing direct patient care, they observe, assess, and record symptoms, reactions, and progress; assist physicians during treatment and examinations; administer medications; and assist in convalescence and rehabilitation. Nurses should be caring and sympathetic. They must be able to accept responsibility, direct or supervise others, follow orders precisely, and determine when consultation is required.

Areas of nursing practice include caring for children, adults and the elderly; services to pregnant women and newborn infants; operating room, critical care and emergency department; and women's health and mental health, as well as many sub-specialty nursing practice areas

Education and Training

Students must graduate from a nursing program and pass a national licensing exam to obtain a nursing license. There are three major educational paths to nursing: Associate degree, Bachelor of Science, and diploma programs (given in hospitals). Generally, licensed graduates of any of the three program types qualify for entry-level positions as staff nurses while a bachelor's degree is usually necessary for administrative positions. Nursing education includes classroom instruction and supervised clinical experience in hospitals and other health facilities. At the advanced level, requiring one to two years of graduate education, nurse practitioners provide primary health care, treating common acute illnesses and injuries, and prescribing medications. Other advanced practice nurses include clinical nurse specialists, certified registered nurse anesthetists, and certified nurse-midwives.

Where Do They Work?

Over 80 percent of the registered nurses in Connecticut work in the health services industry. The greatest number of registered nurses, almost 14,600, work in public and private hospitals. They are also employed in other areas of the health services industries, including home care agencies, personal care facilities, clinics, offices and schools. They are employed in industry settings including research facilities, insurance companies, medical/pharmaceutical sales and government.

Earnings
National average annual wages for registered nurses were $44,470 in 1999. In Connecticut, the Danbury Labor Market Area's average annual wage was the highest at $53,560 during the 1999 period, while the average was $49,480 for the State. The lowest average wage was $45,620 in the Waterbury area. Nurses with the most experience earned an annual wage of $70,640 in Connecticut.
Employment Outlook

In 1998 there were over 2,079,000 registered nurses employed in the United States. It is projected that by the year 2008 employment in this occupation will grow by 21.7 percent, an increase of 451,000 positions, and 195,000 job openings are expected annually.

In Connecticut, employment of registered nurses is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations, with employment projected to rise by more than 4,500 to 34,500 by 2008. The Capital Region will see the most growth in this occupation, with about 340 openings expected to be available each year.

There will always be a need for traditional hospital nurses, but a large number of new nurses will be employed in home health, long-term, and ambulatory care. Faster than average growth will be driven by technological advances in patient care, the rapid growth in the number of older people needing medical care, and the need to replace experienced nurses who leave the occupation.

Return to Top

Industry Clusters
Entrepreneurship Awards

In conjunction with the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) and the Industry Cluster initiative, the Governor officially recognized winners of the Connecticut Inner City 10 Entrepreneurship Award. The Connecticut Inner City 10 awards are a  major component of the multi-pronged Connecticut Inner City Business Strategy component of the industry cluster initiative.

Out of a pool of 50 nominated businesses, 29 companies met the criteria as qualified candidates for the Connecticut Inner City 10 awards program. The 11 companies with the highest five-year compounded growth rate were selected. Applicants were ranked based on the percentage increase in the company's gross revenues between 1995 and 1999. 

Last April, five Connecticut companies were identified as national winners in the ICIC/Inc. Magazine Inc. Magazine Inc. Magazine Inc. Magazine Inc. Magazine Inner City 100 contest, which showcased the fastest growing companies from inner cities across America. Connecticut is the first state in the country to participate in the ICIC/Inc. Magazine Inc. Magazine Inc. Magazine Inc. Magazine Inc. Magazine Inner City 100 contest on a statewide basis. 

This year's winners were Rego Realty (Hartford), Central Auto and Transport (Hartford), Innovative Display & Design (Bridgeport), Space-Craft (New Haven), Prime Resources (Bridgeport), Horizon Services (East Hartford), Quintana Supply (Hartford), Archives One (Waterbury), Century 21 Roman Realty (Stamford), Alexandre, Clark Associates (ABA Foods) (Hartford), and Computer Resolutions (Bridgeport). 

Return to Top

Housing Update
April 2001 Housing Permit Activity

Commissioner James F. Abromaitis of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development announced that Connecticut communities authorized 779 new housing units in April 2001, a one percent increase compared to April of 2000 when 771 units were authorized.

The Department further indicated that the 779 units permitted in April 2001 represent an increase of 38.9 percent from the 561 units permitted in March 2001. The year-to-date permits are down by 1.6 percent, from 2,941 through April 2000, to 2,895 through April 2001.

Hartford Labor Market Area (LMA) recorded the largest number of new authorized units in April with 302. Danbury and New Haven Labor Market Areas followed with 118 and 103 units respectively. Danbury led all Connecticut communities with 45 units, followed by Vernon with 29 and Newtown with 23. From a county perspective, Fairfield County showed the largest gain (46 units) in new housing authorizations compared to a year ago.

Return to Top

LMI Home   Contact Office of Research   Site Map   Search 
Published by the Connecticut Department of Labor, Office of Research
Last Updated: October 30, 2002