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An Improving Economy
A new report by the state Labor Department shows unemployment in Connecticut has dropped to a three-year low, and that 7,100 new jobs were added in January alone.
Among the largest employment sectors showing growth were the construction industry, which added 3,100 jobs in January (thanks in part to a mild winter), the transportation and utilities sector, which added 2,100 positions, and the education and health services sector, which added 1,500 jobs.
Labor Department statistics show that over the past year, the largest job losses have occurred in the state and local government sector, which lost a combined 4,400 jobs, or nearly 2 percent of its workforce.
As Senate Chairman of the Commerce Committee, I’m aware of all the pro-business legislation we have been debating and passing in the past year, and my conclusion is that many of our pro-jobs investments are beginning to pay off.
More Investments in Small Business
Back in October we passed a $1 billion package of grants, loans, job-training and other incentives for businesses to locate or expand in Connecticut.
Over 300 small manufacturers have applied for grants or loans as part of our new Small Business Express Program, and the money is starting to flow to local businesses, including two in South Windsor.
CPR Training Professionals of South Windsor conducts classroom sessions and travels to homes to teach CPR training. The company will use its $100,000 loan in working capital for equipment, marketing, advertising as well as other business expenses. CPR, which has 5 part-time employees, plans to hire two full-time and three part-time employees as part of the project.
Obviously the investment that the legislature made in October to grow jobs and Connecticut’s economy continues to pay off, as I predict it will for months and years to come under our Small Business Express Program.
Helping Start-Ups Get Started
Two years ago I was part of a group called the Majority Leader’s Job Growth Roundtable, which was a collection of Democratic legislators and private-industry businesspeople dedicated to growing jobs—especially the high-tech jobs that pay so well and lead to the fine quality of life we enjoy here in Connecticut.
Part of what we accomplished was the creation of a ‘pre-seed’ fund which supports the formation of new Connecticut technology companies. This fund provides loans of up to $150,000 to Connecticut-based startup and early-stage technology companies. Starting and growing companies, especially technology companies, is one of the best ways of ensuring our state’s economic future.
I’m happy to report that the fund is active and has recently awarded nearly a million dollars to companies like “Combat2Career,” which enables military veterans to search online for and apply to higher education programs that are aligned with the veterans’ skill sets and interests; “Grey Wall Software,” which has developed mobile solutions for team collaboration and response during crisis situations and other disruptive events;
“Stone Creek Entertainment,” which designs and publishes mobile and social network games geared to teen girls and women; and “Raditaz” of South Glastonbury, which has developed an Internet-based streaming music platform.