Connecticut hits milestone in jobs recovery

After nearly six years of fits and starts, Connecticut’s job recovery hit a significant benchmark in November as the state added 5,100 jobs, giving the private sector a full recovery from the job losses of the Great Recession. The unemployment rate remained at 5.1 percent.

The monthly jobs report released Wednesday by the state Department of Labor, which is based on separate surveys of households and employers, gave the state non-agricultural  growth of 26,800 jobs in 2015.

“Job growth in November was broad-based and noteworthy after two months of declines,” said Andy Condon, the DOL’s director of research. “Private sector job growth reached a landmark, recovering the losses seen in the 2008 to 2010 recession.”

The private sector now has entered an expansionary phase, with 113,400 new jobs compared to the 111,600 jobs lost in recession.

The state Department of Labor reports that Connecticut added 5,100 jobs last month, bringing the workforce to a seasonally adjusted level of 1,699,700.

The state Department of Labor reports that Connecticut added 5,100 jobs last month, bringing the workforce to a seasonally adjusted level of 1,699,700.

Seven of the 10 major “supersectors” tracked by the department added jobs in November, led by 1,500 jobs in leisure and hospitality.

But the public sector has lagged. It includes local, state and federal government agencies, as well as the two tribal casinos of eastern Connecticut, which have been shedding jobs in the face of increasing competition and shrinking market share.

Overall, Connecticut has recovered 88.8 percent of the seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs lost in the state during the employment downtown that began in March 2008 and lasted nearly two years.

Labor economists generally downplay month to month reports in favor of longer trends.

The state’s jobs recovery is now 69 months old and has averaged 1,532 new jobs per month since February 2010. Connecticut has recorded 47 months with job gains, 21 with losses and one with no change over that period.

“We know that numbers can and may fluctuate from month to month, but what is undoubtedly clear is that we are making significant progress,” said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat who took office in January 2011, early in the recovery.

“This marks solid progress for Connecticut’s economy and is good news for our workforce,” Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said.

Wages have outpaced inflation over the past year, even as the private sector work week dipped slightly, from 34.2 hours to 33.9 hours.

Average hourly earnings were $29.82, up four percent from the November 2014 estimate. Average weekly pay in the private sector was $1,010.90, which was 3.1 percent higher than a year ago. The Consumer Price Index rose a half percentage point.

Initial unemployment claims for first-time Connecticut filers declined by 4.6 percent in November to 3,528, a new employment recovery low.

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