Connecticut gained 4,100 jobs in May but its unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.5 percent, the state Department of Labor reported Thursday.

Part of May’s job gains were offset after labor officials revised projected job losses in April from 1,400 to 1,900 positions.

Employment for the year now is up 11,500 jobs or 0.7 percent. Connecticut still has an estimated 84,900 unemployed residents — a number which reflects those actively seeking work.

“May’s increase of 4,100 jobs overcame most of the decline we saw in March and April,” said Andy Condon, director of the labor department’s Office of Research. “There was surprising strength in retail trade and a good showing for financial activities, both of which are now ahead of last year’s pace.”

Private-sector employment rose by 4,300 jobs in May while the public sector declined by 200 positions. The public sector includes all federal, state and local employment, as well as those working at Native American casinos on tribal land.

Overall, Connecticut  now has recovered 81 percent of the 119,100 jobs lost in the last recession, which stretched from March 2008 through February 2010. The private sector has fully recovered, and its employment stands at 114,300 positions, or 102.3 percent of the job total that existed before the last recession.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said he was heartened that Connecticut now has recovered more than 100 percent of the private-sector jobs lost in the Great Recession of 2008, and he did not view the slower recovery of government jobs as a weakness.

“Quite frankly, I’m not unhappy that government jobs — with the exception of the tribal nations — are down substantially,” Malloy said. “That was my goal. As of June 1, I think we were down 13.1 percent in state employees. That was a goal.”

Economist Don Klepper-Smith with DataCore Partners called the May job gains a “positive step,” but added the larger trend in 2018 remains concerning. “The job data through the first five months of 2018 shows we’ve posted a YTD (year to date) gain of just 0.5 percent, indicating lackluster, fractional growth that’s probably in the fifth quintile of the U.S. rankings.”

Klepper-Smith was the state’s chief economic adviser under former Gov. M. Jodi Rell.

Among the state’s 10 industry super-sectors, five gained jobs last month, four experienced losses and the manufacturing super-sector was unchanged.

The trade, transportation and utilities super-sector experienced the most growth in May, adding 2,600 net jobs. Gained also were recorded in: education and health services; leisure and hospitality, financial activities; and other services.

The mining and construction super-sector lost the most jobs, down 300 last month. Losses also were recorded in: professional and business services; information; and government.

Five of the state’s six labor markets experienced growth in May while the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk market was unchanged. The Hartford market experienced the most growth, adding 900 positions.

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.

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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