Though famed for its rural loveliness, Connecticut derives most of its wealth from industry. Textiles, silverware, sewing machines, and clocks and watches are among Connecticut's historic manufactures. The state's principal industries today produce jet engines and parts, electronics and electrical machinery, computer equipment, and helicopters. Much of Connecticut's manufacturing is for the military. Firearms and ammunition, first produced here at the time of the American Revolution, are still made, and Groton is still a center for submarine building. Declines in federal defense spending, however, have adversely affected the state's economy.
Agriculture accounts for only a small share of state income; dairy products, eggs, vegetables, tobacco, mushrooms, and apples are the leading farm items. High-grade broadleaf tobacco, used in making cigar wrappers, has been a specialty of Connecticut agriculture since the 1830s. Largely shade-grown in the Connecticut Valley, it remains a valuable crop. Many varieties of fish, as well as oysters, lobsters, and other shellfish, are caught in Long Island Sound, but the fishing industry is small and has been hampered by pollution of the waters. Stone, sand, and gravel account for most of the limited income derived from mining.
Insurance is important in Connecticut; the Hartford metropolitan area is one of the industry's world centers, with the home offices of many insurance companies. Financial, real estate, and service industries are also of major importance. The Foxwoods gambling casino and resort on the Mashantucket Pequot reservation has since its opening in 1992 become one of the largest employers in the state, and the nearby Mohegan Sun casino has joined it in attracting visitors to SE Connecticut.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.