Entering the New Decade with Momentum
Eastern Connecticut is positioned for growth and a bright future as the ball drops this New Year’s Eve. We welcome the 2020s with significantly less trepidation than the beginning of this decade, when we were still reeling from the 2008 crash. Those job losses have been recovered and with unemployment negligible at 3.5%, meeting workforce demands is the new challenge.
We have a great deal to be thankful for in this region. Anchor employer General Dynamics Electric Boat secured a $22.2 billion contract for construction of nine Virginia-class submarines, in addition to other contracts that have been keeping the manufacturing sector in this region humming. Employing 17,000 people at their New London, Groton and Quonset Point facilities, Electric Boat is expecting further growth. The ripple effects of this marine industry leader spurs growth in small manufacturers and marine tech. ThayerMahan added 50 new jobs in phase 1 of their expansion, heading toward making Groton and New London the Silicon Valley of undersea technology.
Biopharmaceutical leader Pfizer continues to be a major employer and holds the distinction of being a leader in the international research community. The biotech startups that have taken seed with our region’s rich supply of bioscience expertise support collaboration locally.
A diverse palette of energy solutions form a flexible and resilient resource for the state and significant economic growth for our region. Dominion secured operations through the end of the decade. NTE Energy is developing and plans to construct the Killingly Energy Center, a 650 MW natural gas-fired electric generating facility. Orsted and Eversource are moving forward under the offshore wind development project they acquired through Deepwater Wind, and improvements to State Pier are a component of that initial agreement. The opportunity for growth in this nascent industry is just beginning, and New London’s natural assets will continue to draw interest.
Redevelopment of our cities has taken off as the demand for high-end urban housing remains the trend for millennials and retirees alike. Our surrounding towns benefit from thriving urban centers with increased entertainment, shopping and dining. Small businesses of all kinds are benefiting from the economic growth in the region.
Tourism remains a backbone industry for eastern Connecticut, and the venues that make this a great place to visit make it an amazing place to live. Vibrant destinations have it all—major attractions, unique boutique businesses, cultural and arts venues, diverse dining experiences—and promoting the region and all its assets is essential to supporting economic growth in this area.
The Chamber staff are thrilled to be engaged with our members during this exciting time of growth and opportunity. The work we do everyday supports economic vitality in the region–promoting organizations, hosting events, sharing information, and representing your interests in Hartford or locally—and we can’t wait to assist this expanding marketplace.
The promise of the New Year is energizing! With all the good news and building momentum, eastern Connecticut and the Chamber are looking forward to a busy, productive and rewarding 2020.
Best wishes in the New Year,
The Staff of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT