Is Connecticut economic output dropping? Depends on who you ask.

Connecticut had the nation's second biggest drop in Gross Domestic Product last quarter, and personal income grew at only half the national average.

John Craven

Oct 3, 2022, 9:12 PM

Updated 568 days ago

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A new federal report says Connecticut’s economy is shrinking – or is it? The answer depends on who’s looking at the numbers and which side of the political spectrum they’re on.
When it comes to economic output, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest report looks ominous. Connecticut had the nation's second biggest drop in Gross Domestic Product last quarter, and personal income grew at only half the national average.
Republicans say it's proof Gov. Ned Lamont can't manage the economy.
"We can do better in this state,” said state Sen. Ryan Fazio (R-Greenwich) at a Monday morning news conference. "All 50 states are facing major problems nationally, but Connecticut -- compared to the rest of the country -- is suffering far more."
But the Lamont administration says, not so fast.
"When we look at these numbers, we look at them over a longer time period,” said David Lehman, Lamont’s Economic and Community Development commissioner.
Lehman says initial GDP numbers aren't always accurate. For instance, in the first quarter of FY 2022, Connecticut's GDP was originally down 1.4%. But the feds revised the numbers. Turns out, GDP was actually up 5.5%.
"So that would put us second of 50 states in the first quarter,” said Lehman. “And as you mentioned, the second quarter numbers were low."
Lehman also pointed out that, over the past year, Connecticut’s GDP growth slightly beat the national average.
Still, the Connecticut Business and Industry Association is sounding the alarm.
“Today’s release of the GDP numbers clearly highlights the impact the state’s labor shortage crisis—along with inflation and supply chain bottlenecks—is having on our economy,” said CBIA president Chris DiPentima. “The finance and insurance and manufacturing sectors, two critical components of our economy, saw some of the biggest declines in the first quarter. The performance of those sectors, along with contraction in the construction and real estate sectors—which typically act as early warning signs—is very troubling.”
Lamont's Republican opponent, Bob Stefanowski, is hoping to seize on inflation frustration from consumers and business owners.
"There are days when I say I'm going to throw in the towel, but then I think about my employees,” said Caren St. Phillip, owner of Caren's Cos Cobber in Greenwich.
But three recent polls have Stefanowski trailing by double-digits. He's even struggling with voters worried about the economy. Another sign that the economy -- and how it impacts voters -- can be fickle.


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