CT ended 2014 with jobless rate down to 6.4 percent

Connecticut’s unemployment rate dropped slightly to 6.4 percent in December, buoyed by 4,800 new jobs created during the holiday shopping season, the state Labor Department reported Monday.

The state closed 2014 with 26,700 jobs gained, up from the 18,400 positions added in 2013. Connecticut now has regained 96,300, or 80.9 percent, of the 119,100 jobs lost during the last recession.

“Connecticut finishes 2014 on an encouraging note with more than 80 percent of nonfarm jobs recovered from the Great Recession – almost 94 percent for the private sector, said Andy Condon director of the department’s Office of Research. “Employment gains were widespread across most industries and regions, although wages are slower to recover.”

Dec. 2014 Unemployment RateAverage hourly earnings in December stood at $28.42. Average weekly pay was up just 2 percent for the year at $960.60.

Over the past year, nine of the state’s 10 industry super-sectors recorded job gains.

Leisure and hospitality led the way, up 4.2 percent, followed by trade, transportation and utilities, which increased by 2.6 percent.

Gains also were recorded in education and health services; professional and business services; manufacturing; government; construction and mining; information; and other services.

But one of the linchpins of Connecticut’s economy, financial activities, lost 2,400 jobs in 2014, dropping 1.8 percent.