It comes as little surprise that the Hartford metro area suffered deep losses in manufacturing jobs in the 1980s and 1990s, but more than Cleveland, Rochester, N.Y., and Scranton, Pa.?
A new report from Brookings found that Hartford lost nearly 50 percent of its manufacturing workforce between 1980 and 2005, compared with declines of 45 percent for Scranton, 44 percent for Rochester and 43 percent for Cleveland.
The nation lost 24 percent of its manufacturing workforce in the same period.
The declines in manufacturing in Hartford came during a period of weak overall job growth. Overall employment rose just 11.4 percent between 1980 and 2005.
The report also noted that workforce development was the prime focus in fostering economic growth. Two major local job-creating initiatives were the "Six Pillars" downtown Hartford revitalization project under former Gov. John G. Rowland and the formation of "clusters" to promote the growth of broadly defined industries.
"The efforts of Hartford's many small economic development organizations appear to have aided many of the region's firms, especially in aerospace manufacturing," the report said. "However, when taken together, their efforts do not appear to have been successful in changing the trajectory of the region."
The report adds: "The real impacts of the Six Pillars initiative and of the Industry Cluster initiative are not clear, but they appear to have been minor. Consequently, the evolution of Hartford's economy has been shaped by broad economic forces."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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