New Haven: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

In the 1950's, New Haven's economy was based on the manufacturing industry. Today, while manufacturing continues to be an important component of the regional economy, the base of that economy has shifted to health, business, and financial services, as well as retail trade. In all, the services sector constitutes 56 percent of the local economy, with transportation and utilities (13 percent), trade (11 percent), and manufacturing (9 percent) also playing major roles. Both government and financial services comprise about 4 percent of the local industry base. The city benefits from its close proximity to two major bioscience centers, New York and Boston. Local healthcare and pharmaceutical firms, along with Yale Medical School, constitute one of the major concentrations of bio-medical research in the nation. The increasingly significant and growing cluster of the bio-technology industry in Greater New Haven is one of the results of this concentration. There are already several well-established bio-tech firms in the region with more likely to come. These companies alone added some 1,000 jobs to the regional economy in the late 1990s, and continue to fuel the economy into the 2000s. Another important element in the Greater New Haven economy is higher education, particularly the presence of Yale University and its worldwide reputation as a research center and its highly-skilled and educated graduate base. Yale and other local colleges together maintain a student base of nearly 50,000 and employ thousands of others.

Items and goods produced: pharmaceutical products, computer software, firearms, ammunition, tools, clocks and watches, lamps, silverware, airplane parts, oil filters, telephones, cutlery, chocolate

Incentive Programs—New and Existing Companies

Local programs

The city of New Haven has several business incentive programs, including programs that offer information and loans in the Aerospace, BioScience, and Information Technology industries. General business loans of up to $5 million and special loans for child care businesses, start-ups, and manufacturing businesses are also available. The City of New Haven Small Business Revolving Loan Fund provides capital for start-up or expansion of small, minority and/or disadvantaged businesses located within and providing goods and services to New Haven's low to moderate income neighborhoods. The Urban Jobs and Enterprise Zone Program provides property tax abatements for manufacturers, state corporation income tax credits, and other assistance.

State programs

The Connecticut Development Authority works to expand Connecticut's business base. Among its many services, the Connecticut Development Authority works with private-sector partners to guarantee or participate in loans for businesses that may be unable to meet credit underwriting standards; provides access to lower-cost fixed asset financing through Small Business Administration 504 Debentures and tax-exempt Industrial Revenue Bonds; provides financial incentives to companies that enhance the skills of their employees; and encourages investment in the state's urban commercial infrastructure.

The Connecticut Development Authority offers business assistance including direct and guaranteed loans to small businesses, businesses involved in brownfield development or information technology, and businesses that are relocating or expanding. Connecticut's financial and tax incentives include grants and tax abatements for firms locating in State Enterprise Zones and Urban Jobs Program (New Haven qualifies for both), low-cost loans and development bond financing, and funding for new product development.

Job training programs

The city of New Haven, the state of Connecticut, and various local for-profit and non-profit organizations have programs that benefit workers and employers, especially in the areas of placement, recruitment and referral, technology and manufacturing job placement, apprenticeships, and on-the-job training and career development.

Development Projects

By 2005, after a decades-long decline followed by years of intelligent planning, New Haven was in the midst of a notable transformation designed to bring the city into the new millennium poised for sustained growth. Major projects include a massive $1.5 billion agenda designed to grow New Haven's downtown, where nearly half of the city's jobs are centered, and a renewed dedication to developing the New Haven waterfront. Among other considerations, the agenda includes renewal of the city's historic waterfront and initiatives creating a 269-slip marina and a permanent berth for the replica slave ship Amistad; expansion and renovation of shoreline commuter rail stations and expansion of I-95, a major artery connecting New Haven to New York City and Boston; a $2.7 million Small Business Initiative to provide small-business owners with capital resources—in the form of a revolving loan fund—as well as technical assistance in such areas as accounting, marketing and inventory control; and the creation of a federal Empowerment Zone (EZ), which gives the city access to $100 million in grants, $130 million in tax credits, and new programs aimed at implementing a strategic plan.

In the few years prior to 2005, numerous other projects aimed at improving New Haven's infrastructure have either been completed or are under way. Among them are $3.15 million in construction projects to improve Tweed-New Haven Airport and an updated master plan to map out the facility's future and improve the level of utilization; a doubling of the city's investment in parks and public works maintenance efforts and a Citywide Beautification Initiative to improve public spaces and support more than 400 community gardens and green spaces; and a Livable City Initiative that has so far rehabilitated 500 housing units, trained 500 residents in homeownership, and established the most aggressive housing code enforcement program in the state. The Ninth Square project has revamped an old industrial and shopping area into a modern shopping, business and residential center. The site of Science Park, New Haven's former Winchester Arms Company complex established in 1866 and open for more than a century, now provides a research-oriented business incubator facilitating more than 70 manufacturing companies and laboratories and over 1,400 potential job opportunities. Others include the IKEA project, in which a 2 story retail distribution of furniture owned and operated by IKEA provides 400-450 jobs with full time benefits for full and part time employees (the project also has a $50,000 commitment to the Hill Development Corporation and a $100,000 commitment to Gateway Community College for job recruitment and training for New Haven residents); and the Pfizer project, which offers a 3 story clinical research unit owned and operated by Pfizer and contributes to the sophistication of medical imaging research at Yale University.

Economic Development Information: Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce, 195 Church St., New Haven, CT 06510; telephone (203)787-6735

Commercial Shipping

New Haven, Connecticut's largest wholesale distributing city, makes use of a major port of entry, many railroad lines, and major interstate highways. New Haven features a deep-water seaport with three berths capable of hosting vessels and barges and facilities for handling any type of break-bulk cargo. The Port of New Haven has a capacity for loading 200 trucks a day from the ground or via loading docks. The Port is serviced by the Providence and Worcester railroad connecting with CONRAIL, New England Railroad, and the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific railroads. A private switch engine for yard movements and private siding for loading and unloading of boxcars, gondolas, flatcars, and others is located at the site. The Port of New Haven has approximately 400,000 square feet of inside storage and 50 acres of outside storage available at the site. Five shore cranes with a 250-ton capacity and 26 forklifts, each with a 26-ton capacity, are also available. The Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce contracts with Logistec Connecticut to operate New Haven's Foreign Trade Zone, providing additional tax incentives to international shipping operations into and out of New Haven's harbor area. Interstate common carriers include about 12 trucking lines.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

The city of New Haven draws from a highly skilled labor force. More than 5,000 college graduates enter the job market from New Haven's colleges each year. Proximity to New York City and relatively lower wages make Greater New Haven a desirable home for commuters and an attractive business site. Yale University, Yale Medical School, and projects like Science Park draw pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies as well as high-technology manufacturing firms and research and development organizations, providing and attracting a supply of highly educated workers. Employers may also draw from the pool of workers who commute to Stamford and New York from New Haven and surrounding communities.

Because New Haven's major employers are utilities, hospitals, and educational institutions, long-term prospects for economic stability are good. Tourism's impact, bolstered by New Haven's new status as a sports destination, is expected to increase its benefits to the city.

The following is a summary of data regarding the New Haven metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 271,300

Number of workers employed in . . .

mining and construction: 11,500

manufacturing: 34,000

trade, transportation, and utilities: 50,300

information: 8,700

financial activities: 14,100

professional and business services: 25,900

educational and health services: 61,700

leisure and hospitality: 20,500

other services: 10,500

government: 34,200

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $16.19 (April 2005)

Unemployment rate: 4.9% (April 2005)

New Haven: Economy

Largest employers Number of employees
Yale University (listed from largest to smallest—no figures available)
Yale New Haven Hospital
Hospital of St. Raphael
Southern New England Telephone
Company (SNET)
The United Illuminating Company
Southern Connecticut State University
New Haven Register
Pritchard Industries
Knights of Columbus

Cost of Living

The cost of living in New Haven is the same or lower than most East Coast and West Coast cities but higher than cities in the Midwest. Of the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the country, New Haven is in the bottom third for overall crime, sandwiched between Indianapolis and San Francisco. Based on the most commonly accepted methodology used to determine the most and least stressful places to live in the United States, New Haven falls within the 15 percent least stressful areas in which to live.

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors for the New Haven-Meriden PMSA.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $400,880

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 123.9 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: 3% to 5%

State sales tax rate: 6% on most items

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: None

Property tax rate: $39.53 mills (2003)

Economic Information: Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce, 910 Chapel St., New Haven, CT 06510; telephone (203)787-6735