In Light of New Unemployment Rate, Senator Boucher Expresses Concern About Connecticut’s Declining Labor Force

December 19, 2013

The Department of Labor reported today that Connecticut’s unemployment rate dropped from 7.9% to 7.6% in November. But comments made today by Andy Condon, Director of the Office of Research for the Connecticut Department of Labor, indicate that it may be too soon to celebrate.

Mr. Condon told a state legislative panel today that the 0.3% drop in the unemployment rate was primarily due to a decline in Connecticut’s labor force; rather than the modest increase in new jobs.

State Senator Toni Boucher (R-26), ranking member of the Education and Higher Education & Employment Advancement committees, attended the joint meeting at the Legislative Office Building today and was concerned by the director’s report.

“Instead of being able to celebrate the good news of Connecticut’s improved unemployment numbers, I was disappointed to learn that the decline in the unemployment rate was primarily due to a reduction in our labor force. That means that while Connecticut did add some new jobs in November, there are still too many people leaving the workforce altogether. This persistent reduction in the labor force is unhealthy for Connecticut’s economy,” said Senator Boucher.

Senator Boucher said most people associate a drop in the unemployment rate with a commensurate increase in job growth. That is not the case with the November number.

“It is also troubling to note that there has been a substantial reduction in the financial services sector, an industry that has historically supported the state budget.

“The continuing decline in our labor force should be a wakeup call. In the coming legislative session, we need to focus on policies that promote private sector job growth and support an educational environment whose goals align with the needs of our economy,” said Senator Boucher.

Mr. Condon made his observation today during the Connecticut Department of Labor’s annual report to the Joint Committee of Labor, Education and Higher Education.