CT unemployment rate climbs to 4.9 percent in April

Connecticut’s unemployment rate rose from 4.8 to 4.9 percent in April as the state lost 1,500 non-farm jobs, the Department of Labor reported Thursday.

The jobless rate nonetheless is 0.5 percentage points lower than it was one year ago and the state has added 5,500 jobs over the past 12 months.

Private sector employment was down by 1,000 jobs last month but still up 9,900 positions over the past year.

Connecticut now has recovered 89,000 of the 119,100 jobs lost in the last recession or just under 75 percent. The private sector has regained 92.7 percent or 103,500 out of111,700 jobs lost.

“Though April non-farm job estimates fell by 1,500, we are still well ahead of last year’s pace,” said Andy Condon, director of the labor department’s Office of Research. “For the fourth month in a row we have seen small increases in the unemployment rate accompanied by larger increases in the labor force..”

The labor force includes those who are employed and those actively seeking work.

Don Klepper-Smith, an economist with DataCore Partners and who was economic adviser to Gov. M. Jodi Rell, said the new labor report, coupled with recent downgrades for Connecticut by Wall Street credit rating agencies, does not bode well for the future.

Given current developments, I’m not that optimistic about Connecticut’s state and local budget problems and how they get resolved going forward,” Klepper-Smith said, warning that the rating downgrades come with a likely cost. “This means higher borrowing costs, which inevitably get passed along to taxpayers, meaning higher taxes, less job growth and further outmigration.”

Just three of Connecticut’s 10 major industry super-sectors added jobs in April, led by construction and mining, which added 2,800 positions. Gains also were recorded in leisure and hospitality and in other services.

The financial activities super-sector remained unchanged while six others lost jobs.

The largest loss, 3,000 jobs, was recorded in professional and business services, while declines also occurred in: trade, transportation and utilities; education and health services; manufacturing; government; and information.

Regionally the New Haven labor market area saw the largest gain in April, adding 900 jobs, while the Danbury and Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk markets also finished the month with job growth.

The Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford market recorded the largest job loss, down 1,000 positions, while the Norwich-New London-Westerly and Waterbury markets also lost positions in April.

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