CT jobless rate drops to 4.8%, but workforce actually shrunk

Connecticut’s jobless rate fell from 5 percent to 4.8 percent in August, more of a statistical fluke than cause for celebration as the number of unemployed and employed each fell, according to a report issued Thursday by the state Department of Labor.

The U.S. unemployment rate grew by one-tenth of point to 4.4 percent.

The business payroll survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the state posted a net loss of 3,900 jobs, or two-tenths of a percent. It is second loss in two months, while over the year employment grew by 66,000 jobs.

“August’s decline of 3,900 payroll jobs leaves the three-month average job gain in Connecticut nearly flat,” said Andy Condon, the director of research for the state DOL. “Nevertheless, due to a decline in the state’s labor force, the unemployment rate fell to 4.8 percent.”

The bright points were manufacturing and professional services. The former gained 1,200 jobs, while the former picked up 800. But seven of the 10 super sectors tracked in the survey lost jobs.

The state has recovered only 78 percent of the 119,100 jobs lost in the Great Recession of March 2008 to February 2010, with the government sector lagging the private sector. After reaching a full recovery, the private sector has dipped to 96.7 percent of its pre-recession employment levels.

The government sector in Connecticut includes the two tribal casinos, which have cut jobs. They are listed in the government sector since their owners are sovereign tribes.