CT Manufacturing: Fighting an Uphill Battle?

Posted on February 7, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

We hear a lot about the cost of doing business in Connecticut being too high. Just how high is it, though?

The Hartford Business Journal ran a very eye-opening piece on what’s happened to Connecticut’s manufacturing base. Turns out the numbers support that common gripe; not only do manufacturers think the cost of doing business in Connecticut is too high, they’re not afraid to act in order to save their businesses. And by act, I mean move.

Check out these stats from “CT Manufacturing: Fighting Uphill Battle“:

  • Connecticut lost 4,700 manufacturing jobs last year.
  • Manufacturing jobs in the state have been lost 19 of the past 21 years.
  • Since 1990, 45 percent of the state’s manufacturing industry has high-tailed it out of Connecticut. (Have to point out the obvious but scary here – that is very, very close to half.)
  • Only Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and North Carolina have lost more manufacturing jobs.

That 45 percent that has left the state since 1990 is the equivalent of 138,400 jobs. Not to sound cold, as I’m sure a good chunk of those 138,400 individuals were productive, wonderful members of our Connecticut society, but that’s 138,400 taxpayers, Connecticut decision-makers. We could use those people nowadays.

It’s a scary reason many of the manufacturers who choose to stick around here do, according to the article: they just don’t want to move. Moving takes money, energy, and upheaval, and right now, staying in Connecticut is the better of two evils.

But how many pebbles can you throw in a bucket of water before it overflows?

The article discusses Shelton’s Inline Plastics Corp., who decided to stay in Connecticut because of its northeastern customer base and consequently cheaper shipping. The $800,000 expansion loan from the Connecticut Development Authority and the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development didn’t hurt, either. But with our budget in the shape it’s in, how can we swing those loans in the future?

Inline’s other option was a Georgia facility. That happens to be 50 percent cheaper in energy costs than Connecticut. Thirteen percent cheaper in labor costs than Connecticut. Forty percent cheaper in building costs than Connecticut.

Without that loan, I’m not sure Connecticut would’ve had a shot. Thanks, Inline, for sticking with us!

What happens in the future, though? Can we really save Connecticut’s manufacturing industry?

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