Connecticut gains 4,600 jobs, but unemployment rate still edges up [NH Register]

December 19, 2014

New Haven Register
WETHERSFIELD >> Connecticut’s economy gained 4,600 jobs in November, the state Department of Labor said Thursday.

Even with the employment gain, Connecticut’s unemployment rate edged upward by 0.1 of a percentage point to 6.5 percent last month. State labor officials said an increase in Connecticut’s labor force was the reason for the increase in the unemployment rate.

“Connecticut’s recent string of healthier employment gains looks to be attracting many more job seekers into the state’s labor market in the lead-up to the holiday season and holiday hiring appears to be above average,” Andy Condon, the director of the Labor Department’s Office of Research, said in a statement. “We are also starting to observe some much improved estimates of private sector wage growth that may be encouraging labor force participation as well.”

The state added 4,700 private sector jobs in November. Four industry sectors added 2,000 jobs or more last month:

• Professional, scientific and technical services: 2,800
• Administrative and support services positions: 2,000.
• Trade, transportation and utilities: 2,000.
• Retail trade: 2,200.

Some gains were offset by losses in other sectors.

Five of the state’s six major labor market areas saw increased employment in November. Only the New Haven labor market experienced job losses, with 100 positions being cut. The Hartford labor market area added 2,600 jobs, while the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk area added 2,300 workers.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the state’s November job data is “another positive sign that we are making progress in our effort to create good paying jobs with good benefits for residents.”

“Labor force participation is up,” Malloy said in a written statement. “We are seeing growth in nearly every sector of the economy.”

State Sen. Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said despite the state’s economy added in November, “Connecticut continues to seriously lag behind the rest of the nation. We cannot over celebrate today’s numbers because we still need to bring change to Connecticut policies; we owe that to the thousands of people struggling to find work every day.”

Donald Klepper-Smith, chief economist and director of research for New Haven-based DataCore Partners, said the November employment numbers are “a tad better than expected,” but said Connecticut won’t see a full recovery of the jobs lost in the last recession until sometime in 2016.

The state has recovered 78.3 percent of the total jobs lost during the last recession, said Pete Gioia, vice president and economist for the Connecticut Business & Industry Association. Connecticut’s recovery trails that of neighboring Massachusetts, which has regained 150 percent of the jobs lost during the recession, Gioia said.

“Compared to what’s happening in some other states … Connecticut still has a way to go,” he said. “But now we are within striking distance of exceeding 100 percent recovery if we continue this pace over the next 12 months.”

Gioia urged state lawmakers to “aggressively pursue a pro-growth agenda that encourages private sector investment” when the legislature returns for the 2015 session in January.