The state economy is still reeling as more layoffs have been announced by major corporations – totaling more than 435 workers as Connecticut struggles to boost employment and balance the state budget.
The latest to offer bad economic news is Hartford-based Aetna, which is laying off 80 in the state and 160 company-wide.
The Aetna workers who are being laid off include mostly managers and their assistants who work in a division that handles computer technology and service operations, according to The Hartford Courant’s Matt Sturdevant. The company said the layoffs were being made as the health insurer prepares for the implementation of the federal health reforms known as Obamacare in 2014.
Besides Aetna, equipment-maker Ricoh said Monday that it is laying off 57 workers at its Glastonbury office after integrating with IKON Office Solutions. Some of the work will be shipped to Macon, Georgia.
In addition, Mohegan Sun is laying off more than 300 workers because the sluggish economy has led to lower-than-expected gambling revenues.
The immediate layoffs at the three Connecticut companies could be offset in the future when some companies move to Connecticut 0r expand here. St. Louis-based Charter Communications will be moving to Stamford after receiving at least $6.5 million from the state if it creates 200 new jobs at its new headquarters in lower Fairfield County. The move was announced after the company hired a new CEO this year who had previously worked at Long Island-based Cablevision, a cable giant that dominates that portion of the New York market.
Charter is renting 70,000 square feet at 400 Atlantic Street in Stamford. If the company does not meet its stated job growth targets, the free money from the state would transferred into a 2 percent loan for the company.
On the upside, Infinity Music Hall and Bistro is expected to open in the future on Hartford’s Front Street, across the street from the Connecticut Convention Center in the long-delayed and long-vacant retail space that is still not complete. The venue, which could create 35 fulltime jobs, received approval for $1.3 million in state bond funds Wednesday in Hartford in a unanimous vote by the 10-member commission.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration negotiated the deal with Infinity, and the members of the bond commission, which is chaired by Malloy, did not raise any questions on the issue during the brief, 15-minute meeting Wednesday that covered 18 items.
“I’ve never hidden some of the differences I had with the Front Street development with the way it played out,” Malloy told reporters Wednesday. “It’s been vacant for a long period of time, as you know. … With the movie theatre complex nearing completion and a live-entertainment destination now added to the location, with a very sizable private investment – so this is not all our dollars and should never be reported that way – I think it’s the combination of those venues and others that are in the works for the site that actually may see the site start to pay for itself.”
In addition, Dollar Tree has broken ground for a gigantic, 1-million-square-foot warehouse on 93 acres in Windsor, not far from Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks. The company was enticed by a $7 million low-interest loan from the state, and the firm has pledged to create 200 jobs over the next five years. Residents who oppose the project have filed two lawsuits that are still pending.
Following the meeting on Wednesday at the state Capitol complex, Malloy said that his goal continues to be “creating good-paying jobs with good benefits” in the state.”
“We’re not where we need to be, but we’re making progress,” Malloy told reporters.