December 26, 2018
As part of the study of the Wall Street/West Avenue area, the Connecticut Economic Resource Center (CERC) conducted an analysis of industry trends in the Norwalk region, including both Fairfield and New York counties. The study examined various trends and key characteristics for every industry in the region to determine which industries should be the focus of economic development efforts in the future. The study identified the key industries in Fairfield County that Norwalk should consider supporting based on whether they were mature, growing or industries with potential. A final category included industries that may not have been growing but should be given priority because they are important to the area, nonetheless. Below we consider the industries that were highlighted in the study.
Mature Industries with a Strong Fairfield County Presence
Industries in Fairfield County that are considered mature have a strong presence in the County but haven’t seen job growth at the national level over the last seven years. All of these industries have a higher than average effect on the area economy in terms of employment and wages. Therefore, Norwalk should consider strategies to determine what support these industries might need to maintain their presence.
Industries in this category include:
- Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents and Brokers
- Publishing Industries (except internet)
- Broadcasting (except internet)
Growing Industries with a Strong Fairfield County Presence
Industries identified in this group have both a strong presence in Fairfield County and are growing nationally. The city should have a development strategy to maintain its reputation as an attractive area for these industries to remain or locate in order to take advantage of their continued growth.
This category includes the following industries:
- Nonstore Retailers
- Motion Picture and Sound Recording Industries
- Other Information Services
- Amusement, Gambling, and Recreation Industries
These industries don’t have a strong presence in Fairfield County but are growing nationally and account for a growing proportion of jobs in the region. Because there are a number of workers that commute from Norwalk to Manhattan, the skill set to support these industries most likely exists in Norwalk. Also, the proximity to existing firms and workers may make them viable candidates to attract to the area. Norwalk should research these industries further to determine whether they are a good fit for the city.
Potential industries include:
- Beverage and Tobacco Product Manufacturing
- Data Processing, Hosting, and Related Services
- Credit Intermediation and Related Activities
- Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Other Financial Investments and Related Activities
- Insurance Carriers and Related Activities Management of Companies and Enterprises
Priority Industries to Retain
A number of industries have previously done well in the region and employed a lot of people but have recently experienced lower than expected growth than would have been expected over a period of time. The city may want to investigate further to understand the reason for low growth and how Norwalk can support these industries.
Retention industries include:
- Food and Beverage Stores
- Other Information Services
- Professional, Scientific and Technical Services Waste Management and Remediation Services
- Ambulatory Healthcare Services
- Nursing and Residential Care Facilities
- Social Assistance
Three of the above Retention Industries are considered among Norwalk’s large institutions. They are ambulatory healthcare services, nursing and residential care facilities and professional, scientific and technical services. One type of industry, hospital, did not score high in any of the categories. However, Norwalk Hospital and Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital remain key anchors in Norwalk, and their presence contributes to strong growth in other healthcare-related industries. Plus, the growth of healthcare at the national level means that with the right support, the healthcare industry could continue to be a key segment of the Norwalk economy.
Looking at the market study of industry in Norwalk and the surrounding region, it’s clear that the area enjoys a variety of industry types and opportunities for employment for its residents. Given the number of growth and potential industries, the city seems well positioned for continued economic growth.
Read the Full Draft of the Wall Street/West Avenue Neighborhood Plan
(The study begins on page 84 )