Connecticut unemployment over time

Connecticut’s unemployment rate declined three-tenths of a point to 5.1 percent in October, despite the loss of 7,200 jobs, the state Department of Labor reported Thursday.

Over the last 12 months, non-farm employment has now grown by just 3,200 jobs, or 0.2 percent.

“Connecticut’s two monthly measures of labor market health continue to send mixed signals,” said Andy Condon, director of the department’s Office of Research. “Payroll job counts have declined for four consecutive months, indicating a significant slowing of recent job growth trends. However, the residential employment survey and model continue to show increasing employment, decreasing unemployment and a significant drop in the unemployment rate. We will have to await further data to see which direction our labor markets are headed.”

Private sector employment fell by 4,200 jobs, or 0.3 percent, in October while the public sector lost 3,000 jobs, dropping 1.3 percent.

Connecticut now has recovered 82,200 of the 119,100 jobs lost in the last recession, about 69 percent. The state now is in its 80th month of recovery without tying or setting a new job peak.

After four consecutive months of job losses, two economists warned these numbers don’t paint a positive picture.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” said Peter Gioia, senior economist for the Connecticut Business and Industry Association. “There were some bright spots in the report as construction and mining, manufacturing, and financial services—all core industries here in Connecticut—added jobs.”

“But there’s nothing you can sugarcoat when we’re down to only 3,000 jobs year over year added in the state,” he added.

Our worst-case job scenario seems to be unfolding at the worst possible time when the domestic economy is also showing signs of weakness,” said Don Klepper-Smith, an economist with DataCore Partners in Durham and former chief economic advisor to Gov. M. Jodi Rell.

Connecticut now has lost 13,800 jobs over the last two months, and 14,900 over the last four, “suggesting in strong terms that the state’s labor market (is) clearly in retreat,” he added, warning this could be “an important turning point in the overall Connecticut job picture.”

The Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford labor market was the only market to add jobs in October, gaining 700 positions. The New Haven and Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk markets lost 2,600 jobs each, while Norwich-New London-Westerly was down 300 positions in October.

Four of the state’s 10 major industry super-sectors gained jobs in October, led by the “other-services” super-sector, which added 1,100 jobs. Gains also were recorded in construction and mining, manufacturing, and financial activities.

While the government super-sector was down 3,000 jobs, losses also were recorded in: professional and business services; education and health services; leisure and hospitality; trade, transportation and utilities; and information.

“Unfortunately, these devastating job numbers speak to the fact that businesses have lost confidence in the state,” Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano of North Haven said. “They are either closing or laying people off because of the extreme uncertainty of future budget deficits. That is why as Republicans and Democrats we need to get together to reverse this trend and show that we are ready to change our state. We need to get into a room now, start a discussion and share our ideas to make a difference.”

Connecticut unemployment over time
Connecticut unemployment over time

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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