State unemployment rate ticks upward despite 1,400 new jobs

The state’s unemployment rate rose above 8 percent last month for the first time this year — despite the addition of 1,400 jobs, the Connecticut Department of Labor reported Thursday.

Government sector cuts of 3,600 jobs, — 2,900 of which came from local public administration — offset the addition of 5,000 jobs in the private sector, the department said.

“June’s mixed results are a mirror of the strengths and weaknesses of the current job market,” said Andy Condon, director of the labor department’s Office of Research. “Overall job growth is slow, though the private sector continues to show a decent recovery.”

Connecticut’s unemployment rate was at its highest from August to December, 2010, when it peaked at 9.4 percent.

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Data: State Department of Labor

Since this time last year, the state has added some 8,800 jobs; and June marks the third consecutive month of gains.The education and health services sector accounted for the majority of that growth by adding nearly 11,700 jobs, according to the report.

Peter Gioia, an economist with the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, said the report is “a little better than what might be expected considering the very tepid numbers that we’ve seen on a federal level.”

Three of the state’s six regional labor markets saw job growth in June with the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk market leading with 1,900 new jobs, or 0.5 percent. The smaller New Haven and the Norwich-New London markets saw similar percentage growth.

The Danbury market saw the largest decline with 600 jobs, while the Waterbury and Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford market also saw a minimal decline of one tenth of one percent or about 300 jobs.

The increase in the unemployment rate shows that more people are looking for jobs, which Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said “in and of itself is a good thing.”

“Unfortunately, the jump in our unemployment rate indicates we are not growing jobs fast enough to satisfy the need in our economy,” Condon said. Since the end of the recession, Connecticut has gained 29.7 percent of the total nonfarm jobs it lost during the recession. The private sector has gained back 42.9 of the jobs it lost during the same period.

“We clearly have a long way to go, but let me be clear – job creation continues to be my top priority,” said Malloy.

The recent labor report comes after an announcement by Malloy’s office on Wednesday that two global steel companies will be coming together to create a new business headquartered in North Haven. The project is expected to hire up to 400 people over the next four years.