Too much can be made, granted, of discrete reports of upticks in the economy.
But Connecticut has been buffeted by such bad, worst-in-the-nation news for so long on the economic recovery front that we're tempted to embrace whatever good news we can get.
Indeed, some recent reports show promise. They suggest that the wind may be starting to fill our sails and are reasons for cautious optimism that maybe by this time next year the economy in Connecticut could be gaining strength at a faster clip.
Take the jobs picture. Although the state's unemployment rate stayed the same, at 8 percent, in May, the economy added 1,000 private-sector jobs last month, the state Department of Labor reported. Taken with the 6,400 jobs added in April, Connecticut's jobs growth for the first five months of the year is the best in the last three years.
Most private economists are not terribly impressed by this year's jobs figures after 35 months of decline, although Peter Goia, economist for the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, said, "we're beginning to see some traction."
That's good, right?
CBIA reports that "modest economic growth" is translating into "cautious, but rising, credit demand."
Home sales are up 15 percent; housing starts are higher.
The state will put another $30 million or more into the rainy day fund, Connecticut's cash reserve account. This means tax revenues are meeting if not beating projections.
Finally, a recent study ranked Connecticut No. 1 on the "Human Development Index" — an awkward way of saying "overall well-being." The study weighed standard of living, life expectancy and the "everyday experiences of ordinary people, encompassing the range of factors that shape their opportunities and enable them to live freely chosen lives of value."
That doesn't say much about how well we're doing with the immediate problems facing Connecticut in digging out from the great recession. But it does suggest that the quality of life here is great over the long term.
Accentuate the positive.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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