Connecticut’s economy shrank by nearly one-third in the spring as businesses closed during the worst of the coronavirus

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Connecticut’s economy shrank by nearly one-third in the spring and early summer as businesses, hit by the full impact of the coronavirus, shut on public health orders, the federal government reported Friday.

The state’s economy contracted to $262.7 billion in the April-June period, down 31.1%, the Commerce Department reported. Connecticut was No. 23 among the states in the U.S. in the change in economic activity.

The U.S. economy contracted by 31.4% and the New England economy shrank by 32.3%. In the region, the economic pullback in Maine and Vermont were the largest, at more than 38%.

Sectors that contributed the most to the economic decline were hotels and food services, health care and social assistance and durable goods manufacturing, which includes appliances and other large items. Retail trade also was down sharply as malls and stores were ordered shut to slow the spread of the virus.

Finance and insurance, which plays an outsize role in Connecticut’s economy, contracted only slightly in the second quarter, down by about one-tenth of 1%.

The bad economic news in Connecticut wasn’t out of line with other states. But a drop in economic activity is magnified because the state’s economy was weak even before COVID-19 hit. Economic growth in 2019 was an anemic 0.9%, half the rate of New England’s expansion and less than half the U.S. rate of 2.2%.

Job gains in Connecticut also are slow. Employers slashed nearly 300,000 jobs between January and April in response to the pandemic, and about 158,000 jobs have since been regained.

That’s in line with job growth nationally. U.S. hiring gains slowed to 661,000 in September, the federal Department of Labor reported Friday. Labor market improvements from the downturn caused by the coronavirus are moderating, with September the first month since April that net hiring was below 1 million.

Stephen Singer can be reached at


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