Connecticut’s unemployment rate dropped slightly to 5.7 percent in July after the state gained 1,700 jobs, the state Department of Labor reported Thursday.
The state has added 13,000 positions since the calendar year began, but the jobless rate is still higher than the 5.4 percent unemployment Connecticut faced in July 2015.
Private-sector employment was up by 3,000 positions in July, and has grown by 20,100 during the first seven months of 2016.
“There is uniformly good news in our employment surveys last month,” said Andy Condon, director of the labor department’s Office of Research. “Payroll jobs grew. Our labor force grew and we saw our unemployment rate decline for the first time since August of last year.”
Five of the state’s 10 major industry super-sectors experienced gains in July.
The leisure and hospitality sector and the trade, transportation and utilities sector led the way, adding 1,700 positions each.
Job gains also were recorded in professional and business services, manufacturing, and other services.
The government sector led all declining groups in July, losing 1,300 jobs. Reductions also were recorded in education and health services, construction and mining, information, and financial activities.
“This is another important step forward,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said of Thursday’s report. “… We continue each and every day to grow jobs and grow confidence among our business community. The needle is moving in the right direction, and we are no doubt going to keep working to build on our growth.”
“To say that Connecticut is moving in the right direction is to completely ignore the challenges families are facing every day,” countered Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven. “While I sincerely applaud the businesses that were able to rise above and grow jobs, we cannot ignore the fact that the unemployment rate today is higher than it was at the same time last year, meaning that more people in our state are struggling with unemployment. That shows the state’s current fiscal policies are not working. We are one of only a few states that have yet to recover all jobs lost in the recession. In fact we are still over 20,000 jobs behind. New layoffs appearing in the news almost daily have become commonplace.”
Connecticut now has recovered 98,800 of the 119,100 jobs lost in the last recession, or 83 percent. That recession ended six years and five months ago, the department reported.
Private-sector employment has fared somewhat better, and has regained 96 percent of the jobs lost, or 107,200 out of 111,700.
Three of the four labor market areas added jobs in July, topped by Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, which added 1,900 positions. The Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk and New Haven market areas added 700 and 200 jobs, respectively, while the Norwich-New London-Westerly market was unchanged.
Average hourly earnings in the private sector in July stood at $30.15, up $1.35 from July 2015.