The Connecticut unemployment rate rose from 4.5 percent in January to 4.7 percent in February as the state posted a net loss of 1,600 jobs, nearly all in the private sector, the state Department of Labor reported Thursday. The U.S. unemployment rate also was 4.7 percent.

A job sector with some sensitivity to the weather was the hardest hit: the leisure and hospitality industry shed 3,200 jobs. The trade, transportation and utilities sector lost 1,900 jobs, with retail cutbacks being the biggest factor, the DOL said.

Those losses were partially offset by gains of 3,100 jobs in education and health services, 1,200 in construction and 900 in professional and business services.

The jobs gain of 5,700 reported in January was revised upward to a gain of 6,500 jobs.

Job growth is based on a monthly business payroll survey administered by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate is estimated based on a monthly residential household survey.

Wage growth slightly outpaced inflation in year-over-year comparisons: Average weekly pay was $1,032.90, which was 2.9 percent higher than a year ago. The consumer price index for urban consumers rose 2.7 percent.

Initial unemployment claims for first-time filers declined by 155 claimants, or 4.4 percent, to 3,341 from last month and were 9.8 percent lower compared to a year ago.

The state unemployment rate a year ago was 5.5 percent.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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