Market Employment Focus: Fairfield County in Connecticut

Fairfield County, CT

Fairfield County, CT

Located in the southwestern corner of the state, Fairfield County is the most populated in the state at 916,829 people according to the 2010 Census.  In fact, four of the State’s largest cities (Bridgeport, Stamford, Norwalk, and Danbury) are located in Fairfield County; and combined are home to almost half the county’s population.  The county is also one of the most affluent in the U.S., with the bulk of the wealth located on the “Gold Coast” from Greenwich to Fairfield.  Contrarily, the county also includes lower-middle and working class cities, such as Bridgeport, Danbury, and Norwalk.

There are no county governments throughout the state of Connecticut.  Instead, the individual cities/towns (or combined neighboring towns) are responsible for all local government functions, such as fire/safety, schools, and city services.

Historically, Fairfield County has experienced several employment related trends, starting with Manhattan-based corporations moving their headquarters to the county during the late 1960s and early 1970s.  Subsequently, during the buyouts/reorganizations that dominated the 1980s, many companies vacated unnecessary Fairfield County office space.  Even with that trend, in 1992 more than 25 major multi-national corporations were headquartered in Fairfield County — the third largest concentration in the U.S. after New York City and Chicago.  Fairfield County’s latest designation is as a “hedge fund ghetto” because of the preponderance of investment management firms in the area, notably Bridgewater Associates, Aladdin Capital Management, and SAC Capital Advisors.

Quick facts:

  • Located in the area are the headquarters (or U.S. headquarters) of such companies as General Electric, Sikorsky, Pitney Bowes Business Solutions, Terex Corp. (heavy construction equipment), Harman International (audio/infotainment solutions), EMCOR Group (mechanical/electrical construction services), IMS Health (pharmaceutical/healthcare research), and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals
  • In addition to more established corporations, newer success stories include priceline.com (Norwalk), Gartner Inc. (Stamford), webloyalty.com (Norwalk), Jupitermedia Corp. (Darien), and Greenfield Online Inc. (Wilton)
  •  Professional/Business/Financial/Technology services are also an important employment sector, with such key employers as Deloitte, WR Berkley, OdysseyRe, Student Loan Corp., Interactive Brokers Group, Towers Perrin, Affinion Group, Independence Holding Co., and MTM Technologies
  • Fairfield County is home to six (6) hospitals:  Bridgeport Hospital, Danbury Hospital, Greenwich Hospital, Norwalk Hospital, St. Vincent’s Medical Center, and Stamford Hospital
  • Higher education is highly concentrated in Fairfield County, including state schools (Southern CT State University and University of CT), community college (Norwalk Community College), and private schools (Univesity of Bridgeport, Fairfield University, Sacred Heart University, and St. Vincent’s College)

News of Note:

In November 2010, Connecticut Magazine published an article on Great Places to Work.  By researching numerous sources, querying business experts and employment professionals, and talking to people, a list was compiled of varying types and sizes of businesses, all with a minimum of 50 employees.  While not expected to be perfect in all situations, everyday, the highlighted companies have “actively developed strong employee-centric cultures and have ardently striven to create a positive work-life balance for each of their employees.”  In Fairfield County, the list includes (in alpha order):  CHG/CompHealth, CIGNA, Comcast, Deloitte, Diageo North America, FactSet, Gartner, Griffin Hospital, People’s United Bank, Pepperidge Farm, Stew Leonard’s Unilever, and Xerox.

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