Connecticut’s private sector appears to have completed its painfully slow recovery from the Great Recession of 2008, as the state added 7,100 private-sector jobs last month on top of more than 5,000 in May, the state Department of Labor reported Thursday. Unemployment, however, still rose a tenth of a point to 5 percent.
With private employment reaching 1,460,400, the state has regained 102 percent of its lost non-government jobs and entered an expansion for the first time in 88 months. With losses in the public-sector, which includes the state’s two tribal casinos, Connecticut still needs to gain 19,100 jobs for non-farm employment to return to overall pre-recession levels.
“June showed another sharp increase in payroll jobs over May, and private sector jobs have now completely recovered from the 2008 – 2010 employment recession, although these numbers are preliminary and subject to revision,” said Andy Condon, the DOL’s research director. “Our unemployment data continues to show growth in the labor force and employment, indicating that workers are entering or rejoining the labor force and most are finding jobs.”
The number of workers entering or rejoining the workforce contributed to bumping the unemployment rate up from 4.9 percent, even as the state posted jobs gains.
The jobs report is based on two surveys. The unemployment rate is based on a residential survey, while the jobs data is based on a business survey.
“The June jobs report is solid—we’re on track for stronger performance,” said Pete Gioia, an economist with the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.
The report comes as Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and legislators are trying to agree on a spending plan for the fiscal year that began July 1.
“It’s important not to derail this momentum. Now the legislature must deliver a fiscally sound state budget that relies on long-term structural spending reforms and rejects broad-based tax increases,” Gioia said.
The leisure and hospitality industry posted the biggest gains, followed by education and health services.
The average private-sector work week of 33.6 hours was unchanged from the same month a year ago. Average hourly earnings at $30.67 were up $0.63 or 2.1 percent from June 2016.