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Since income tax passage, Hartford area last for job growth

Hartford area employment has only increased by 1.1 percent in the past 25 years, according to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, leaving Connecticut’s capitol region last in the nation.

The report focused on the 51 metropolitan areas with a population of at least one million people and tracked data from March of 1991 to March of 2016. Connecticut’s population saw a 10 percent increase during the same period.

Austin, Texas, and Las Vegas, Nevada, were the two metropolitan areas with the largest growth. In contrast to the Hartford region, Austin and Las Vegas grew by just over 144 percent. Orlando, Florida, and Raleigh, North Carolina, also more than doubled employment.

The New York City and Boston metro areas each grew by about 20 percent.

The anemic employment numbers are not attributable to the economic downturn in 2008. The report includes data for the past one, five, 10 and 25 years. For the 10 years including the Great Recession, Hartford area employment grew 2.6 percent. Including that growth, employment grew by only 1.1 percent since 1991.

Statewide, 1991 was a significant year because lawmakers approved the first income tax that applied to wages at the insistence of Gov. Lowell P. Weicker. The income tax is Connecticut’s largest source of revenue but lately it has not been meeting expectations, leaving continued deficits and forcing cuts to the state workforce.

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