Unemployment rate drops but state still loses jobs

Despite losing 2,700 jobs in March, Connecticut’s unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent in March, according to the state Labor Department.

That’s due in part to a correction in job growth estimates from the prior month. After originally estimating 4,900 jobs were added in February, the Labor Department now says 6,000 jobs were gained. The unemployment rate was 7.8 percent last month.

The state calculates unemployment using survey data to project the number of people seeking work. And the state estimates about 148,000 people were looking for work in March, down more than 500 from February.

The latest report “illustrates the fragile nature of the state’s economic recovery,” said Peter Gioia, chief economist for the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.

“While I’m certainly pleased that our unemployment rate continues to decline, we still have a long way to go in this growing recovery,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Thursday.  “The fact remains that if you don’t have a job, the unemployment rate is basically 100 percent.”

Thursday’s numbers mark the eighth consecutive month Connecticut’s unemployment rate has declined, and the lowest rate in 3 1/2 years.