Unemployment in Connecticut dropped for a sixth consecutive month in January to 8 percent, the lowest since April 2009. The state now has recovered 35,900 of the 117,500 non-farm jobs lost in the recession of March 2008 to February 2010.
The construction industry led the way in job growth, adding 3,200 of the 7,100 new jobs recorded for the month, but nearly every sector showed growth. A notable exception: government jobs continued to shrink for the month and year.
“The region’s mild winter appears to be helping job growth in Connecticut across many industries, including construction, manufacturing and trade,” said Andy Condon, the director of research for the state Department of Labor.
Unemployment was 9.3 percent a year ago and 8.1 percent in December. The national unemployment rate is 8.3 percent.
“Unemployment continues to decline, though unlike in recent months, our labor force also shrank slightly,” Condon said. “Although we still have fewer people in Connecticut’s labor force than we did a year ago, we appear to be on a trend to close that gap.”
The Department of Labor cautions that monthly changes are less significant than changes over several months, but elected officials were quick to celebrate.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy issued a statement linking the jobs performance to decisions made last year to stablize the state budget, which had a deficit of more than $3 billion when he took office in January 2011.
“Today’s report is encouraging — another sign that we are beginning to see a recovery when it comes to job creation,” Malloy said. “We continue to outpace the national average, which is a testament to the hard decisions we made last year to stabilize our state’s finances and focus on job creation.”
Leaders of the Democratic majority in the legislature highlighted bills passed during the bipartisan session on job creation in October.
“This report is welcome news for Connecticut families,” said Senate President Pro Tem Donald E. Williams Jr., D-Brooklyn. “In October, the legislature approved a $1 billion jobs bill for new and expanding business assistance, economic and workforce development, and job training programs. Our goal is to build on this momentum and continue our focus on growing jobs and putting Connecticut residents back to work.”
“People in Connecticut are going back to work,” said House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan, D-Meriden. “That means they’re once again providing for themselves and their families, and contributing to our economy. Actions we have taken, including the October jobs bill, are creating an environment in our state that is helping small businesses, spurring innovation, educating and training our workforce and now creating jobs. While too many still remain out of work, a drop in unemployment for the sixth straight month is a strong sign that our recovery is under way.”
The state has added 11,900 jobs since Malloy took office.
Seven of the state’s 10 “supersectors” had gains in January.
The biggest loser was “professional and business services,” which lost 1,800 jobs. Within the sector, performances were mixed. Professional, scientific and technical jobs grew by 1,300, but a loss of 400 management jobs and 2,700 other positions offset the gains.
The government sector lost 600 jobs in January and 4,400 for the year, making it the biggest job loser.
Average weekly initial unemployment claims in January for first-time filers increased slightly over the month by 139 to 5,191, but they were down 314 claims from a year ago January.
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