The state’s 169 cities and towns all experienced further economic improvement in 2016, though at a slower pace than in 2015, according to the state Department of Labor’s Connecticut Town Economic Index.
Four annual average town economic indicators are used as components in the index: total covered business establishments, total covered employment, inflation-adjusted covered wages and the unemployment rate. Each component is given a 25 percent weight; the index’s base year is 2010, which equals 100.
In Fairfield County, Newtown had the top score, totaling 128.5 in 2016 against 124.1 in 2015, followed by Fairfield’s 127, up from 2015’s 121.3. Bethel and Redding followed by each scoring 126.4 last year, compared with 121 and 121.8, respectively, in 2015; Brookfield and Stamford both scored 125.4 last year, compared with 122.1 and 119.9, respectively, in 2015.
Of the county’s other cities with the largest populations, Bridgeport rose from 114.2 to 119.8; Danbury from 121.2 to 125.3; Greenwich from 113.1 to 116.3; and Norwalk from 118.4 to 123.6.
The total number of businesses in Connecticut rose by 1.2 percent to 117,658 over the year, a slower growth than the 1.4 percent from 2014 to 2015. Stamford continued to dominate with the largest number of businesses in the state, followed by Greenwich, Hartford, Norwalk and New Haven. Since 2010, Connecticut’s overall number of businesses increased 5.7 percent.
Last year’s average statewide employment rose 0.2 percent from 2015 and 4.4 percent from 2010. Almost 58 percent of the cities and towns in the state experienced job recovery over the year, slightly higher than 53 percent from 2014 to 2015. Overall, 75 percent of the state’s municipalities in the state have added jobs since the employment recovery began in 2010.
In 2016, 69 percent of all cities and towns in the state posted inflation-adjusted wage gains over the year, and 64 percent from 2010.
The statewide real annual average wage was $60,147 per worker, a 0.5 percent increase over 2015 and a 1.2 percent increase from 2010. The highest real average wages were in businesses in Greenwich, Stamford, Wilton, Westport and Norwalk.
Overall, the statewide unemployment rate fell from 5.7 percent in 2015 to 5.1 percent in 2016.