State of Working Connecticut 2015

Back • Publication Date: November 19th, 2015

Authors: Nicholas Defiesta and Derek Thomas, M.P.A.

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Six years after the official end of the Great Recession, Connecticut has yet to fully recover. Despite lower levels of unemployment, the recovery has left behind many of our state’s residents, including people of color, young workers, those paid low wages, and many with relatively low levels of education. These trends have  made it more difficult for families to afford their most basic needs.

Major trends include:

  • After a long-term slowdown in Connecticut’s economy, the percentage of the state’s population that is employed has picked up in recent years.
  • Despite this recent improvement, Connecticut has yet to fully recover from the Great Recession, with unemployment still higher, and nearly 20,000 fewer jobs, than before the economic downturn began.
  • Worker pay has fallen for nearly all since 2000, and has failed to keep up with worker productivity. If Connecticut’s wage growth had kept pace with productivity since 1979, the average worker would have made $35.24 an hour in 2013 instead of the actual median wage of $20.46 an hour.
  • These trends have disproportionately hurt working men and women of color, young workers, those making low wages, and people with low levels of education. Only one in two black residents over the age of 16 is working, the lowest rate on record in the state. People of color who have found employment make a median hourly wage that is, on average, $7.25 to $8 less than white workers.

These trends have a direct impact on children and families today and on shared prosperity over the long term. Failure to address the needs of our children sets us up for an intergenerational cycle of poverty that will undermine preparedness for work in a state that has long boasted one of the nation’s most productive and highly educated workforces.

For more information on trends in this report, including employment and wage statistics dating back to 1979, see our interactive State of Working Connecticut graph.

For a summary of the charts in this report, see our 10 Charts that Explain Connecticut's Economic Recovery.

For media reaction to this report, see our State of Working Connecticut media page.