Connecticut's financial hub is struggling to rebound in the wake of the recession, but planners hope the area's relatively low real estate rates and high vacancies could attract jobs back to the area.

While much of the state's economy depends on construction and manufacturing, Stamford, Conn., and the economy of surrounding Fairfield County in particular, has been tied to the financial services industry and New York City for decades.

Stamford lured a number of large corporations to build their headquarters there, thanks to a number of state and local tax breaks, but the volatile financial sector has turned this into a boom/bust town.

Local real estate agents say office vacancies are at 20%, twice the rate of 2007. In addition, the Connecticut Hedge Fund Association membership has fallen from 50 in 2007 to 35. Things could be picking up, though. There were 156 local accounting and finance jobs listed this week in the Stamford Advocate.

According to the Department of Labor, the metropolitan area including Stamford, Norwalk and Bridgeport had 18,800 jobs in the securities industry in March, down from a high of 19,190 in June 2008. The 331,000 households in the area earned approximately $70 billion in income last year, down from $74 billion in 2007.

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