The state’s jobless rate crept up slightly in July, rising to 8.1 percent despite Connecticut’s gaining of 11,500 jobs last month, the state Labor Department reported Friday.

Originally estimated at 8.1 percent as well, the June unemployment rate later was scaled back to 8 percent.

“Excluding May 2010, when jobs were boosted by temporary (U.S.) Census employment, this month’s nonfarm job gain is the best so far” since Connecticut began its recovery from the last recession in February 2010, said Andy Condon, director of the Labor Department’s Office of Research.

Despite the job gains in July, the state’s labor market – the number of people either employed or actively seeking employment – rose by nearly 11,950 residents.

Economists and labor officials had warned many months ago that the sluggish nature of this recovery has prompted many long-unemployed residents to abandon their search for new work, at least temporarily.

July’s numbers also represent the sixth consecutive monthly report with an unemployment rate hovering around 8 percent.

Still, there are some signs for optimism, according to Condon, who noted that improvements were seen among most industrial job market sectors in July.

Private-sector hiring also was robust last month, the department reported, noting it added 7,300 jobs to the state.

Four of the state’s six labor markets posted gains in July. The Greater Hartford and the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk markets posted the largest increases, up 3,900 and 1,000 positions, respectively. The Danbury and New Haven markets also posted small gains while Waterbury and Norwich-New London lost ground.

Connecticut now has recovered almost 58 percent, or about 70,100 of the 121,200 jobs it lost in the last recession, the department reported.

Keith has spent most of his 31 years as a reporter specializing in state government finances, analyzing such topics as income tax equity, waste in government and the complex funding systems behind Connecticut’s transportation and social services networks. He has been the state finances reporter at CT Mirror since it launched in 2010. Prior to joining CT Mirror Keith was State Capitol bureau chief for The Journal Inquirer of Manchester, a reporter for the Day of New London, and a former contributing writer to The New York Times. Keith is a graduate of and a former journalism instructor at the University of Connecticut.

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