The Connecticut Department of Labor issued a mixed labor analysis Friday, revising upwards the number of jobs created in 2013, while reporting that employment declined in January, even as the unemployment rate fell for a sixth consecutive month to 7.2 percent.
Also read: CT jobs numbers don’t lie, they just confuse
The state’s non-farm employment dropped 10,400 positions in January after hitting a post-recession high of 1,663,500 jobs in December, a drop at least partly blamed on the cold and snowy weather since the start of the new year.
“Newly benchmarked employment statistics reaffirm the consistent job growth in the state that brought down the unemployment rate in 2013,” said Andy Condon, research director at the state Labor Department.
“However, the steep decline in January payroll jobs remains a concern. If, as we suspect, January’s decline was largely due to weather conditions we should see growth trends return in future months,” Condon said.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a first-term Democrat facing re-election this fall, accentuated the positive, saying that the final 2013 growth number of more than 21,000 new private-sector jobs is one of the strongest gains in 20 years and that the state has added nearly 53,000 private-sector jobs since his term began in January 2011.
“The annual restatement of labor figures is yet another sign that we are making progress in turning our economy around. With 53,000 private sector jobs created through the end of last year, we are experiencing one of the best periods of growth that Connecticut has seen in decades,” Malloy said.
But, as the governor also frequently notes, before he took office, the state had a two-decade period with no net job growth, which makes any gains relatively impressive.
“Clearly, we have much more work to do. But we are making steady progress in our effort to create good paying jobs with good benefits for middle class families in Connecticut,” Malloy said.
The national unemployment rate for January was 6.6 percent.
The statistics released Friday are estimates based on two monthly surveys that have confounded analysts with contradictory findings in recent years: a business survey on which most economists rely as the best picture of the labor force, and a smaller household survey.
The residential survey is used to generate the unemployment rate, while the business survey generates the overall employment data, including the month-to-month job growth or loss numbers that economists say provide the best measure of whether an economy is growing.
The latter measures non-farm jobs in Connecticut as reported by 6,500 employers, and the other tries to gauge jobs held by Connecticut residents, based on a survey of 1,600 households.
The latest business survey showed that the public sector continued to be a drag on the economy: Even with the loss of 9,700 private sector jobs in January, private employers have had a net gain of 9,500 jobs since January 2013, while government jobs shrank by 5,600 over the same period.
The biggest gains came in manufacturing, which added 1,300 jobs. But eight of the 10 so-called “supersectors” tracked by the Department of Labor lost ground. Retail lost 3,800 jobs, while leisure and hospital lost 2,900 positions.
All six major labor markets in Connecticut posted losses.