NVCOG staff have just completed an update to the Regional Economic Profile for the 19-municipality Naugatuck Valley Region. The Regional Economic Profile analyzes trends in job creation and industry growth using a variety of sources including the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Connecticut Department of Labor, and the Connecticut Economic Resource Center.
Summary of Major Findings
- The Naugatuck Valley Region had a total employment of 165,277 in 2014, an increase of 807 jobs (0.5%) from 2005. Comparatively, there were 219,250 employed persons living in the region, a net export of 53,973 workers.
- Recovery from the 2007-2009 recession continues to be slow. Regional employment peaked in 2007 and declined to a low in 2012. Employment has grown steadily since 2012, with the Leisure & Hospitality, Education & Health, and Professional Services sectors reaching or surpassing their peak employment levels and Trade & Utilities and Financial Activites nearing theirs. Only Goods Producing sectors have failed to reclaim their lost jobs, though these fields are slowly growing.
- The region has very high concentrations of Information employment compared to the state at large, and fairly high concentrations of Manufacturing, Retail & Wholesale Trade, and Health Care & Social Assistance employment.
- The region has very low concentrations of employment in Finance & Insurance, Arts & Recreation, and Professional Services compared to other parts of the state.
- Health Care & Social Assistance is a dominant force in the regional economy, making up 18.4% of the region’s employment and 17.8% of the region’s workforce. However, growth in this sector has slowed relative to growth state- and nation-wide, indicating that this industry may be losing competitiveness. This industry has been identified in this report as a High Priority Retention Area.
- The Information and Retail Trade sectors are the strongest large sectors of the local economy, as they have both seen significant growth in employment and are more concentrated in the region compared with other portions of the state. The Information sector is largely made up of a single company, whereas Retail Trade is spread across the region.
- The Education sector is a rapidly growing major industry in the region, outpacing state- and nation-wide growth rates. Much of this growth is attributable to expansions in several higher educational institutions regionally. The Naugatuck Valley towns should consider working to encourage growth in this sector, as it is a substantial Emerging Strength.
- The state has made investments to develop the Manufacturing workforce by creating an Advanced Manufacturing program at Naugatuck Valley Community College. Waterbury has made complementary investments by creating a manufacturing programs at a local high school. Manufacturing employment is projected to remain stable into the next decade, as plastics, rubber, and chemical manufacturing grow statewide, offsetting the decline in machine parts manufacturing.