Connecticut is still years away from a full recovery from the Great Recession, according to a new report from Connecticut Voices for Children, which found the state lagging behind on job growth and wages.
The annual report from the left-leaning think tank is called “The State of Working Connecticut.” This year’s report pointed to areas where the state’s economy is still struggling to recover from the recession, which officially ended five years ago.
“Connecticut’s workers continue to face an economy with fewer jobs, falling wages and rising inequality,” Wade Gibson, director of the group’s Fiscal Policy Center, said on a Tuesday conference call. “In very real sense, we have not yet recovered from the Great Recession. We are still about three years away, at our current pace, from recovering the jobs lost. Wages remain depressed.”
Gibson said the state’s sluggish recovery is consistent with a larger trend. When the recession hit in late 2007, Connecticut had barely recovered all the jobs lost during a smaller economic downturn earlier in the decade, Gibson said.
“What we’re really talking about is a decade and a half or more where the average family in Connecticut — in fact, most families in Connecticut — really haven’t seen their economic fortunes improve,” he said.
The economic troubles have disproportionately impacted young people, minority groups, and people with less education, Gibson said.
“Demographically, those are the groups of people who are raising Connecticut’s next generation of workers, leaders, and parents. Close to a third of Connecticut’s children are growing up in poverty or near poverty,” he said.
The group made several recommendations to help curb the trends. In the short term, Gibson called for tax reform. He said the state should restore its Earned Income Tax Credit. The program was originally adopted during Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s first year in office but it was reduced from 30 percent to 25 percent because of budget constraints. Gibson also called for a tax credit or exemption that favors families raising children.
In the long term, Gibson said the state should continue to focus on expanding access to early child care and education.
“Like the EITC, high quality pre-school — there’s bipartisan consensus that it improves educational and life outcomes for children. The return on investment is quite impressive,” he said.