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Connecticut Economic Digest: April 2006 issue
New Gains for Exports: 2005 Connecticut Exports in Review | TOWN/CITY PROFILE: FARMINGTON | Occupation Profile: Firefighters

New Gains for Exports: 2005 Connecticut Exports in Review
By Laura Jaworski, Trade Specialist, DECD

In today's global economy, it is important to know one's position in the international marketplace. Exports are a key ingredient for business success in an increasingly interconnected world and the new opportunities created through market globalization have resulted in new gains for exporters. This is especially true for Connecticut exporters whose product sales reached new highs in 2005. To describe the State's 2005 export story, a review of several export categories follows.

Annual Export Figures

Between 2004-2005, Connecticut's annual exports grew a remarkable 13.2%, from $8.56 billion in 2004 to $9.69 billion in 2005. State export data collected across industry sectors from 2003 to the present indicate a steady and healthy upward trend. By comparison, for the same period total U.S. exports grew by 10.6%.

Connecticut's exports in 2005 represented roughly the same percentage of total U.S. exports as they did in 2004, 1.0%. Among the 50 states, Connecticut ranks 28th. Its rank has remained relatively stable throughout the past few years. Among the New England states, only Massachusetts' exports rank higher than Connecticut's as a percentage of total U.S. exports. Although Connecticut is a small state geographically, the State's export sector is sizable, and outperforms national export figures. According to a recent report prepared for the Eastern Trade Council, an organization in which Connecticut is a member state, Connecticut's trade value in dollars increased 40.0% between 1996-2004, while the U.S. figure increased 31.0% over the same time period. Connecticut's continued growth in exports is a positive sign for the State's economy.

State Export Partners

Connecticut's core export partners have remained unchanged for the past several years. In 2005, the State's top ten export destinations, as expected, were Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Japan, the Netherlands, China, Belgium, and Singapore. Connecticut increased trade with its top ten trade partners in 2005, with the exception of Mexico, Japan and Singapore. As a reference, mix of top trade partners for the U.S. and the New England states are similar in composition to Connecticut's. The U.S.'s top five export destinations in 2005 were Canada, Mexico, Japan, China, and the United Kingdom, while the top export markets for the New England region were Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom.

Table A: Connecticut Exports by Country
Rank Code Description ANNUAL 2004 ANNUAL 2005 2004-05 %
    TOTAL ALL COUNTRIES 8,559,237,269 9,687,291,825 13.2
1 1220 CANADA 1,472,483,112 1,680,077,135 14.1
2 4279 FRANCE 1,181,671,113 1,602,190,862 35.6
3 4280 GERMANY 762,242,985 832,232,504 9.2
4 4120 UNITED KINGDOM 547,771,616 696,946,466 27.2
5 2010 MEXICO 586,305,613 559,772,543 -4.5
6 5880 JAPAN 501,516,365 436,807,306 -12.9
7 4210 NETHERLANDS 270,109,697 364,540,439 35.0
8 5700 CHINA (MAINLAND) 204,500,674 337,202,240 64.9
9 4231 BELGIUM 227,902,577 262,851,054 15.3
10 5590 SINGAPORE 340,949,009 246,578,873 -27.7
The China Factor & Canadian Popularity

Not surprising is the fact that among its top partners, Connecticut's trade increased most substantially with China. Between 2004-2005, Connecticut's annual exports to China grew 65.9% to $337 million. In comparison, U.S. exports to China increased 20.5%, from $34.72 billion in 2004 to $41.84 billion in 2005.

With much recent discussion of China's tremendous economic growth and its rising position in the world economy, there is often much confusion as to the country's status and rank as one of Connecticut's trade partners. Despite China's growth, it is not the State's-nor New England's, nor the U.S.'s-number one trade partner. That export distinction belongs to Canada, and holds true for New England and U.S. exports as well. China ranked 8th among Connecticut's trade partners in 2005.

Canada's popularity as an export market owes to the lack of a language barrier for trade dealings and, for Connecticut businesses, its proximity; a large geographic portion of the Canadian market is accessible within several hours' drive. For those companies who are new to exporting and the intricacies of such transactions, it is often recommended to first explore the Canadian market before investigating more challenging markets around the world. Connecticut's exports to Canada increased 14.1% in 2005 to $1.68 billion, up from $1.47 billion in 2004. In 2005, 17.0% of Connecticut's exports were destined for Canada. U.S. exports to Canada increased 11.8%, up from $189.10 billion in 2004 to $211.42 billion in 2005. Canada claimed close to one quarter, 23.0%, of all U.S. exports in 2005. These figures are similar for the New England states as well. Twenty percent of all New England exports went to Canada in 2005. Among the six New England states, trade with Canada was up 11.9% in 2005 to $8.61 billion. Canada is a steadfast trading partner.

Potential Future Export Partners For Connecticut

Free trade agreements, both newly enacted and proposed, with the Central American Free Trade Agreement member countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic) and others such as Thailand, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates are worth watching. The impact of such agreements and their effects on duties and tariffs could boost future export figures. Other potential markets to watch include Belgium, Brazil, China, Malaysia and the Netherlands.

Composition of Connecticut's Exports

Connecticut's top exports mirror the State's historic strengths. As with Connecticut's top export partners, there is a demonstrated consistency among the State's top export industries. In 2005, the State's top five export sectors were transportation equipment, machinery, computers and electronic products, chemicals and miscellaneous manufactured commodities. Electrical equipment, fabricated metal products and paper also ranked high among the State's export industries.

Transportation equipment led all exports in 2005. This sector increased 23.9%, growing from $3.18 billion in 2004 to $3.94 billion in 2005. Volatility in sales in the aircraft and spacecraft sector, however, makes the transportation sector an industry to continuously monitor. This sector's growth in 2005 followed decreased exports in 2003 and 2004, after a peak in 2002. In 2005, large growth was also experienced in the computer and electronic sector. Between 2004-2005, this industry grew 10.2%, with State exports increasing from $8.03 million to $8.85 million. According to the Eastern Trade Council report, future industry sectors to watch include pharmaceuticals, organic chemicals, medical devices, integrated circuits, iron and steel, and plastics.

Table B: Connecticut Exports by Industry
Rank Code Description ANNUAL 2004 ANNUAL 2005 04-05 %
    TOTAL ALL INDUSTRIES 8,559,237,269 9,687,291,825 13.2
1 336 TRANSPORTATION EQUIPMENT 3,177,827,619 3,936,716,835 23.9
2 333 MACHINERY, EXCEPT ELECTRICAL 1,106,773,395 1,129,158,212 2.0
3 334 COMPUTER AND ELECTRONIC PRODUCTS 803,610,886 885,393,225 10.2
4 325 CHEMICALS 608,180,192 590,389,432 -2.9
5 339 MISCELLANEOUS MANUFACTURED COMMODITIES 606,202,640 562,071,320 -7.3
6 335 ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT, APPLIANCES, AND COMPONENT 469,688,632 432,977,758 -7.8
7 332 FABRICATED METAL PRODUCTS, NESOI 406,459,831 408,245,001 0.4
8 331 PRIMARY METAL MANUFACTURING 275,741,165 325,880,523 18.2
9 990 SPECIAL CLASSIFICATION PROVISIONS, NESOI 197,556,465 253,198,637 28.2
10 322 PAPER 165,849,925 219,841,365 32.6

By means of background, the top export industries for the U.S. and the New England states in 2005 were again similar to Connecticut's. The top five U.S. exports included computer and electronic products, transportation equipment, chemicals, machinery, and miscellaneous manufactured commodities. The top five export sectors for New England in 2005 were nearly identical, although chemicals ranked higher than transportation equipment for the region.


The volatility and unpredictability of global issues in the future, will undoubtedly impact trade relations and exports. Issues to monitor include the national trade deficit, future bilateral trade agreement negotiations, Chinese currency valuation issues, the war in Iraq and the continued fallout from energy imports as a result of the Gulf Coast hurricanes. Enforcement of intellectual property right protections in key offender countries (i.e., China, Russia) may also play a potential factor and impact trade. Will companies shy away from trade with countries that fail to protect copyright, trademark and patent laws? While all this remains to be seen, what is known is that exports will continue to be a sizable component in the State's economic future. In today's economy, globalization is a reality; international market opportunities must be explored.

Export Assistance

Exports will continue to be an engine of growth for Connecticut and, as such, the importance of exports to the State's economy cannot be understated. For help in reaching new markets and to learn more about Connecticut's international trade programs and services, businesses can contact Laura Jaworski at (860) 270-8068.

Data appearing in this article comes from the World Institute for Social and Economic Research unless otherwise noted.

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By Cynthia L. DeLisa, Research Analyst, DOL

"As my husband and I drove into this quaint community a sense of belonging came over me. This is the epitome of early hometown America if there was ever one." Emilia Beth Mink

The Town of Farmington was founded in 1640, and incorporated in December 1645 from the Tunxis Plantation, one of the largest single grants in the colonies. Known as the "Mother Town," after Farmington was subdivided into the towns of Avon, Bristol, Plainville, New Britain, Berlin, Southington, and Burlington, today Farmington comprises 28.7 square miles along the Farmington River. The town's official slogan, "Where Tradition Meets Tomorrow," appropriately describes Farmington's unique balance of old world charisma and contemporary setting.

Historic Farmington Village

The town's center, commonly known as "the Village," is like a window into the past with its well-preserved Colonial homes and significant museums. Settled in 1640, some early Farmington families were affirmed abolitionists whose homes played an important part in the Underground Railroad. In 1841, thirty-eight Mendi Africans and Cinque, the leader of their famous Amistad slave revolt, lived and were educated in Farmington while funds were raised for their eventual return to Africa. Today these homes are part of the Connecticut Freedom Trail. The Hill-Stead Museum is one of Farmington's most scenic spots as well as the Farmington Valley's premier tourist attraction.

Miss Porter's School, whose buildings occupy much of the Village, is a significant historic and cultural institution. Founded in 1843 by educational reformer Sarah Porter, Miss Porter's has long been considered one of the finest girls' prep schools in the country. Some well-known alumnae include: Ruth Hanna McCormick (1897), the first woman to run for U.S. Senate; Helen Coley Nauts (1925), founder of the Cancer Research Institute; and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (1947), First Lady of the United States.


Farmington had a population of 24,682 in 2004, growing almost 20 percent since 1994. Farmington's total labor force was 12,334, of which 11,847 were employed, with an unemployment rate of 3.9%. The number of new housing permits authorized in the town has averaged about 140 each year over the last decade.

In 2004, there were about 28,400 jobs in the town, down slightly from the prior two years. The town's five principal industries were financial activities, trade, transportation and utilities, professional and business services, educational and health services, and manufacturing. The total number of businesses in Farmington, however, increased between 2002 and 2004. The average annual wage for workers in all industries also rose to $49,774 in 2004. Professional and business services sector employees working in Farmington were paid the highest average annual wage at $67,512. On the other hand, those in leisure and hospitality, with many working part-time, were paid $19,753.

In 2004, Farmington's three major employers were: UCONN Health Center, which houses the state's medical and dental schools, a teaching hospital, a regional medical reference library, and the Valley's only Emergency Room; The Hartford Financial Services Group, a leading provider of investment products; and Otis Elevator-World Headquarters, which has attracted the largest hotel to the Valley (Farmington Marriott). In 2004, the top three grand list taxpayers were: Westfarms Mall, located on the Farmington/West Hartford town line, is a premiere shopping center that features 160 fine shops and services, many unique to its trade area; United Technologies Corp., spans the commercial building, aerospace, and fire and security industries, and has been ranked by Forbes magazine as one of the seven Best-Managed Companies in America in the conglomerate sector; and the TRUMPF Corporation which is a world leader in production technology.

Farmington, a town with one of the lowest mill rates (23.3 in FY 2004-5) in the Hartford County boasts 73% of its total housing as owner-occupied. In FY 2003-04, the average single-family home sales price was $440,000. In 2005, the median household income was $74,979, which was about $15,000 higher than the statewide median household income of $59,761.

Did You Know?

Founded in 1892, the well-regarded Farmington Country Club is nationally recognized as one of the first 100 golf clubs established in the U.S.

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Occupation Profile: Firefighters
By Michael Polzella, Associate Research Analyst, and Andrew Callahan, Research Intern, DOL


Every year, fires and other emergencies take thousands of lives and destroy property worth billions of dollars. Firefighters help protect the public against these dangers by rapidly responding to a variety of emergencies. They are frequently the first emergency personnel at the scene of a traffic accident or medical emergency and may be called upon to put out a fire, treat injuries, or perform other vital functions. In many cases a fire crew is nearer to an emergency than an ambulance or paramedic unit. Most new firefighters are trained as emergency medical technicians, and candidates with previous paramedic experience are desirable. Firefighters work in a variety of settings, including urban and suburban areas, airports, chemical plants, other industrial sites, and rural areas like grasslands and forests. Among the personal qualities firefighters need are mental alertness, self-discipline, courage, mechanical aptitude, endurance, strength, and a sense of public service.

Job Descriptions

Firefighters control and extinguish fires or respond to emergency situations where life, property, or the environment is at risk. Duties may include fire prevention, emergency medical service, hazardous material response, search and rescue, and disaster management. When an alarm sounds, firefighters respond rapidly, regardless of the weather or hour. Firefighting involves risk of death or injury from sudden cave-ins of floors, toppling walls, traffic accidents when responding to calls, and exposure to flames and smoke. The United States Fire Administration announced recently that there were 106 on-duty firefighter fatalities in the United States in 2005.

Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement

Applicants for municipal firefighting jobs generally must pass a written exam; tests of strength, physical stamina, coordination, and agility; and a medical examination that includes drug screening. Written examinations are generally open to persons who are at least 18 years of age and have a high school education or the equivalent. Many fire departments in Connecticut utilize the nationally accredited Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT), which is conducted by the Connecticut Fire Academy. The CPAT is a practical exam used to test a candidate's physical ability to perform a job task related to firefighting. It was developed to allow fire departments to obtain pools of trainable candidates who are physically able to perform essential job tasks on the fire scene.

Fire departments frequently conduct training programs, and some firefighters attend training sessions sponsored by the U.S. National Fire Academy. These training sessions cover topics including executive development, anti-arson techniques, disaster preparedness, hazardous materials control, and public fire safety and education. The larger fire departments may have battalions and divisions, with lieutenants, captains, battalion chiefs, division chiefs, fire marshals, and investigators, with substantial pay hikes for those making it into senior positions. To progress to higher-level positions, they acquire expertise in advanced firefighting equipment and techniques, building construction, emergency medical technology, writing, public speaking, management and budgeting procedures, and public relations.

Employment Outlook and Average Wages

Employment figures in this article include only paid career firefighters-they do not cover volunteer firefighters, who perform the same duties and may comprise the majority of firefighters in a residential area. According the United States Fire Administration, over 70 percent of fire companies are staffed by volunteer firefighters.

Employment of firefighters is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2012 as fire departments continue to compete with other public safety providers for funding. Most job growth will occur as volunteer firefighting positions are converted to paid positions.

Firefighters in Connecticut earned an average hourly and annual salary of $23.26 and $48,379, respectively in 2005. Connecticut's current employment figures indicate that in 2005 there were approximately 3,650 firefighters employed in the State. Employment projections made in 2005 suggest that in 2012 there would be 4,290 firefighters employed in the State, approximately a 13.7% increase.

Across the nation, firefighters earned approximately $8,400 less per year than their peers in Connecticut, with an average hourly and annual salary of $19.22 and $39,980, respectively. Recent employment figures indicate that in 2004 there were approximately 282,000 firefighters employed in the United States and projected employment of 351,000 by 2014.

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Published by the Connecticut Department of Labor, Office of Research
Last Updated: April 7, 2006