NEW CANAAN, Conn. — A completely occupied Elm Street has helped New Canaan’s unemployment decrease from July 2013 compared with July 2012, officials said.
“We’ve just set a milestone here,” said Tucker Murphy, executive director of the town’s Chamber of Commerce. This is the first time there have been no vacancies since 1972 on Elm Street, and many businesses in town are looking to hire, she said.
It’s not just Elm Street that seems to be on the rise. Murphy said she has been getting calls every week from companies looking to move to town. She added that the commercial vacancy rate is way down from 13 percent.
“New Canaan seems to be on a roll right now,” Murphy said believing it is a sign the economy is improving, though there are some still having a tough time.
In July, the town had an unemployment rating of 5.9 percent which is slightly lower than the 6.2 percent from July 2012, according to statistics released by the state Department of Labor. In July 2007, before the recession began, the unemployment rate was at 3.1 percent.
The Bridgeport-Stamford Labor market also remained under the state unemployment rate, at 7.7 percent vs. 8.3 percent for July.
“We have had a lot of negatives over the last couple of years, but it’s starting to pick up,” said Joseph McGee, vice president, public programs and policy, for the Business Council of Fairfield County.
Growth in professional services in the area and proximity to New York City directly benefit New Canaan and are two factors that have helped keep the unemployment rate lower than in the rest of the state. McGee also pointed to the growing labor force in the county as another positive sign for the economy.
Despite the continued improvement, McGee said the area does have work to do to. He said the jobless rate in the area should be 5 percent to 6 percent, which is still a far cry from the early 1990s when Stamford's rate was about 2 percent.
“We were really humming,” he said.