What Are The Biggest Industries In Connecticut?

By Geoffrey Migiro on January 20 2020 in Economics

The UnitedHealthcare building in downtown Hartford on September.

Connecticut is the twenty-ninth most populous American state with a population of about 3,565,287people. The most populous city in Connecticut is Bridgeport while its capital city is Hartford. It is situated in the southernmost parts of the New England region. Connecticut is the third smallest American state that occupies an area of about 5,567sq miles. It is surrounded by Long Island Sound, Rhode Island, New York, and Massachusetts. Connecticut is named after River Connecticut which runs through the state. The first major settlement in the region was founded in the 1630s by the English. Thomas Hooker established Connecticut Colony while other settlers founded New Haven Colony and Saybrook Colony. The 3 colonies were merged in 1662 to create the crown colony of Connecticut.

Economy Of Connecticut

Connecticut has been a global leader in industrial development since colonial times. When it was still a colony, Connecticut’s industries were crucial enough to attract complaints from other competitors in England. Just like all the other parts of the northeastern U.S., Connecticut lost a huge percentage of its industries in the 1940s and 1950s to the Sunbelt region. Connecticut experienced an economic rebound during the 1970s and 1980s. Since then, this state has been ranked as one of the top states in the U.S. in terms of personal income-per-capita. Connecticut’s GDP increased from $225.4billion (2011) to $229.3billion in 2012. Connecticut had the highest per-capita personal income in the country of $60,847 in 2013. However, there is a huge disparity in incomes in Connecticut between the bottom 99% of the population and the top 1%. Connecticut has the third-highest number of millionaires-per-capita in the country. The unemployment rate of Connecticut was 3.6% in September 2019.

The Biggest Industries In Connecticut

Financial And Insurance Services

According to the United States Census Bureau, the largest industry in Connecticut is the insurance and financial sector, which contributed about 16.4% of the state’s GDP in 2009. Connecticut has the highest insurance jobs per capita in the country. Connecticut started earning its reputation as the American insurance state over 180 years ago. Marine Insurance started in Connecticut with coverage of cargoes and vessels that sailed from Connecticut to the Caribbean. Fire Insurance was introduced formally in this state in 1794. Other types of insurance packages like health, casualty, accident, and life were introduced during the 1800s.Currently, there are over 160 insurance companies in Connecticut, and this includes some of the biggest firms in the country. Some of the major financial companies in the state are GE Capital, Royal Bank-of-Scotland, People’s United Financial, Mass Mutual, Cigna, Travelers, and The Hartford. The insurance and financial sector is the highest paying industry in Connecticut, with more than $16 billion in annual payroll.  

Agriculture And Fishing

Just like in most U.S. states, agriculture declined in importance in Connecticut throughout the twentieth century, and currently, it’s a minor sector in the economy. The steep reduction in the number of farms in Connecticut resulted in the enacting of the farmland-preservation program of 1978. Animal products and livestock have been the primary source of farm income for many farmers in the state. The state produces vegetables, poultry, eggs, and milk for domestic consumption and one crucial export crop. Shade-grown tobacco, which is used as cigar wrappers, is grown in Connecticut. The agricultural sector employed over 12,000people in 2010.Other than oyster fisheries, commercial fishing has never been crucial in Connecticut. Oyster fishery was a significant source of income for all the towns situated along the coastline of Connecticut. Oyster harvesting boomed in Norwalk, Bridgeport, and New Haven among other towns during the nineteenth century. Oyster production in Connecticut reached its peak of about 25million pounds of meat in 1911, exceeding oyster production in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York.

Manufacturing

The manufacturing industry is the third largest sector in Connecticut, which contributes about 11.9% of the state’s GDP. The manufacturing industry has been one of the primary sectors in Connecticut for centuries now. The manufacturing sector is dominated by the UTC (United Technologies Corporation) which has employed over 22,000people in the state. Sikorsky Aircraft, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, operates the biggest manufacturing firm in Stratford, Connecticut, where it manufactures helicopters. Other manufacturing firms include Boehringer Ingelheim, a pharmaceutical firm whose headquarters are in Ridgefield. Historically, Connecticut was the center of gun production in the United States, and by 2012 there were 4 gun manufacturing companies operating in Connecticut that have employed over 2,000people. General Dynamics Electric Boat has been producing submarines for the U.S. Navy for over a century in Groton, Connecticut. Some of the items that are produced in this state include firearms, sewing machines, pins, silverware, and clocks, among other brass products.

Tourist And Entertainment

Tourism grew by 5% in Connecticut from 2011 to 2012 when over 1.6million people tour Connecticut from other parts of the United States to visit Foxwoods Casino. According to a report produced by the Tourism and Culture Commission of Connecticut in 2006, tourism, film, and art sector generated over $14billion in economic activities and produces over 170,000jobs every year. The tourism and entertainment sector provides over $1.7billion in local and state revenue and $9billion in personal income for the locals. The biggest employers in this sector are the Mohegan Sun Casino and Foxwoods Resort Casino which are situated in the eastern parts of the state.

Other Industries

The real estate sector in Connecticut has grown considerably in the last few decades. The real estate sector contributed about 15% of the economic activities in Connecticut in 2009 with some of the leading employers being William-Raveis Real Estate and Realogy. Connecticut was ranked ninth in the United States in foreclosure activities in April 2014. Mining was crucial in Connecticut in the past; however, currently, only mica, clay, feldspar, stone, gravel, and sand are mined in Connecticut.Over 50% of the annual electricity output in Connecticut is produced by nuclear power plants, while the rest is generated by thermal plants. Connecticut has promoted the development of renewable energy sources, particularly methane from biomass-sources. The electricity output produced by renewable sources is small but significant to the total electricity consumed in the state.

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