CT jobless rate drops to 6% as 6,400 jobs created

Connecticut’s unemployment rate dropped to 6 percent in May, buoyed by the addition of 6,400 new non-farm jobs, the state Department of Labor reported Thursday.

The jobless rate originally stood at 6.3 percent in April, though the labor department revised the number Thursday to 6.2 percent.

With the May gains, Connecticut now has added jobs for 20 consecutive months. The unemployment rate is down from 6.6 percent in May 2014.

“Connecticut year-to-date job gains are showing their strongest performance since the employment recovery began in 2010,” said Andy Condon, director of the labor department’s Office of Research. “The state’s jobless rate has fallen quickly in the last two months, even with strong labor force growth, and it appears to be converging closer to the U.S, jobless rate.”

The labor force, which includes not only those employed but also those actively seeking work, now stands at an all-time high of 1.92 million.

“This jobs report is yet another validation of our progress – because of our efforts, Connecticut’s economy is growing, job numbers are steadily improving, and employment is reaching heights that it hasn’t in decades,” Gov. Dannel P.Malloy said.

But the state still has not recovered all of the jobs it lost during the last recession. According to the labor department, Connecticut has recovered 97,800, or 82.2 percent of the 119,000 jobs lost between March 2008 and February 2010.

“We are no doubt making progress as we work today to deliver a brighter tomorrow for the residents of our state. Our efforts are focused on delivering long-term growth and prosperity, and we are committed to continuing our efforts to move Connecticut forward, because we believe everyone in our state who wants a job should have one.”

But the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, which has been protesting the $1.5 billion in tax hikes built into the new, two-year state budget, said Connecticut still has made to little progress recovering jobs.

“It is absolutely critical for the state of Connecticut to pass a budget and tax package that will help businesses make investments to create more jobs,” said CBIA senior economist Peter Gioia, ” because even with this positive report, that is certainly needed.”

The report indicates some gains in wages at a time of little or no inflation, as measured by the consumer price index.

The private sector work week was little changed, down two-tenths of an hour from a year ago. Average hourly earnings of $28.70 were up 3.2 percent from the May 2014 estimate. The resulting average private sector weekly pay was $955.71, up 2.5 percent over a year ago.

Six of the state’s 10 industry supersectors reported increases in May, led by trade, transportation and utilities, which added 3,200 jobs. Other supersectors that gained jobs included: construction and mining; leisure and hospitality; professional and business services; information; and other services.

Manufacturing saw the most job losses in May, down 1,000 jobs. The government and health and education supersectors also lost jobs, while financial activities was unchanged last month.

The Hartford area labor market experienced the most job gains in May, adding 5,000 positions, while the Norwich-New London market gained 1,300. The Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk market saw the biggest decline with 1,500 jobs lost last month, while the New Haven market lost 1,100.

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