Manufacturing has been an integral part of Connecticut’s economy for well over 200 years and it is a critical part of our future, providing well-paying career opportunities to our citizens with a wide spectrum of educational backgrounds—from high school graduates to PhDs.
Today, manufacturing is one of the top four employment sectors in Connecticut and each manufacturing job supports more than three other jobs, according to most studies. Manufacturing wages are also significantly above the state average, and the vast majority of Connecticut manufacturing jobs provide healthcare and additional benefits.
When one considers the pay and benefits, the variety of available occupations, and the advancement opportunities presented to new workforce entrants as our older workers retire, it underscores the adage that, “Manufacturing provides more than good jobs, manufacturing provides great career opportunities.”
An Overview of CT Manufacturing
of Companies have fewer than 100 employees
years average Company age
of Companies have their primary location in CT
total Companies in CT
annual wages paid
contributed to the state’s economic output in 2020, including $13.8B in exports
additional jobs created for every manufacturing job
Manufacturing businesses in Connecticut are typically small, well-established companies that have operated in the state for many years. Seventy percent of those who responded to CBIA’s August-September survey employ fewer than 50 employees and 84% have less than 100 employees.
The average age of surveyed companies was 58 years, with 90% in operation for more than 20 years. Only three firms have less than 10 years in operation, and 22 are more than 100 years old. Twenty-three percent are family owned businesses, 7% are owned by women, and 4% by veterans.
As of September 2021, the state’s 3,796 manufacturers employ 153,000 workers—10% of Connecticut’s workforce—and pay $15.4 billion in annual wages and benefits. That represents an average of $100,662, well above the state’s $79,771 yearly per capita income.
Most critically, the sector drives other parts of the state’s economy, creating up to 3.4 additional jobs for every manufacturing job and generating $2.79 in additional economic activity for every dollar spent. Connecticut manufacturing’s economic performance last year was the highest since 2015 and matched its 2019 output.
Workforce & Hiring
Over the past year and a half, the pandemic exacerbated difficulties finding workers in Connecticut, an issue that has hampered manufacturing growth for years.
A number of factors continue to drive the shortage of skilled workers, including the current wave of sector retirements,…misperceptions about manufacturing as a career choice, and the need to continue aligning educational curricula with employer needs. This year’s survey found that more than half (55%) of manufacturers experienced difficulty finding workers.
Manufacturers in Connecticut are dealing with an issue that has challenged employers across the country: there are thousands of unfilled job openings. Thirty-six percent of those manufacturers struggling to find workers said applicants do not possess the required skills or expertise for the job,…and 18% cite competition from other employers offering higher wages and/or more expansive benefits.
A continued, broadened collaboration between the public sector, manufacturers and manufacturing organizations, and educational institutions will be critical to successfully and comprehensively addressing workforce challenges. We need “additional funding for tech schools, small business internships, and apprenticeship programs with less red tape,” noted one manufacturer. “Invest in manufacturing programs in high school, have courses in high schools also matriculate in community colleges and Connecticut college systems,” said another.
of manufacturers have difficulty finding workers
say job applicants do not possess the required skills
of manufacturers plan on growing their workforce over the next 6 months
Information on this page was excerpted from the 2021 Connecticut Manufacturing Report, produced by CBIA and affiliates CONNSTEP and ReadyCT – made possible this year through the generous support of RSM.
The information and data shared in this report came from multiple sources, including a comprehensive August 4-September 8 CBIA survey of Connecticut manufacturers, numerous state and federal agencies, and interviews with private and public sector manufacturing leaders and officials.