Connecticut lost 1,300 jobs in March as its unemployment rate rose from 3.8 percent to 3.9 percent, the state Department of Labor reported Thursday.
Labor officials also announced they’ve upgraded February’s job report from a 400-position loss to a gain of 400.
“With the March decline of 1,300 jobs the three-month average of job growth is now negative,” said Andy Condon, director of the labor department’s Office of Research. “However, annual job growth has actually improved as the first quarter of 2018 was very weak.”
Private-sector employment shrank by 1,100 jobs during March but remains up by 7,300 positions over the past 12 months. Connecticut now has recovered 111,100 or 99.2 percent of the 112,000 private-sector jobs lost during the last recession, which ended in early 2010.
Public-sector jobs were down slightly — about 200 jobs — in March, and employment remains flat over the past year.
For the private and public sectors combined, Connecticut has recovered 96,600 or 80.3 percent of the 120,300 total jobs lost during the last recession.
Economist Donald Klepper-Smith with DataCore Partners, who was the state’s chief economic adviser under former Gov. M. Jodi Rell, said he believes — at this pace — Connecticut could not regain all jobs lost in the last recession until mid-2021.
Unfortunately, Connecticut also is at risk of falling into a “full-blown recession” by then, Klepper-Smith said, adding that “raises serious questions about the state’s fiscal health over the near-term.”
The Connecticut Business and Industry Association attributed the March job losses to the General Assembly’s “focus on costly workplace mandates and a reluctance to cut government spending.” The CBIA has opposed proposals from Gov. Ned Lamont and from Democrats in the legislature to establish a paid family and medical leave program, raise the minimum wage in stages from $10.10 per hour to $15 per hour, and to increase various state taxes.
CBIA economic adviser Peter Gioia said “people are reacting to these bills that will add significant costs and burdens to employers, particularly small employers across the state.”
Four of Connecticut’s 10 major industry super-sectors gained employment in March.
Financial activities gained the most positions, adding 700 jobs, while gains also were recorded in: trade, transportation and utilities; education and health; and other services.
Job totals in the manufacturing super-sector stayed flat in March.
Besides the government super-sector, losses also were recorded in March in: construction and mining; leisure and hospitality; professional and business services; and information.