The economic bad news is piling up. The state jobless rate has jumped to 7.1%, up from under 5% only a year ago. Connecticut companies are starting to lay people off: Webster and Mead-Westvaco announced Friday that they would be cutting staff. Over 29,000 jobs were lost in Connecticut this year: the most since 1991.
The jobless rate is still lagging behind the national jobless rate (just barely), but if history is any guide the recession here will last a little longer than nationally.
How will this affect races shaping up for 2010? Jim Amann has picked up on the idea that the economy will be the top issue in 2010, and has put a video on his website touting his “Hollywood East” tax breaks. But how credible is he on economic issues? How credible, for that matter, are Dan Malloy, Richard Blumenthal and Jodi Rell?
Malloy might be able to point to his city’s above average economic record. Blumenthal, on the other hand, seems almost entirely divorced from economic issues (though at this point I don’t think it matters–he doesn’t seem likely to run). Amann has Hollywood East, which is a notable success, but whether that will translate to greater credibility than the rest of the field on economic issues is unknown.
Gov. Rell may do fairly well when it comes to saving money, but she has yet to put together much of a plan to save/build jobs in the state. A lousy economy is always dangerous for incumbents, even ones as popular as Rell, if they’re seen as ineffective or not doing enough.