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Region gains a few jobs as state numbers decline

By Lee Howard

Publication: theday.com

Published March 28. 2013 11:00AM   Updated March 28. 2013 11:52AM

The Norwich-New London area was one of only two regions in Connecticut to see job gains last month, according to figures released today by the state Department of Labor.

The region gained 100 jobs in February, while the state saw a decline of 5,700 positions, the new statistics indicate. Despite the loss of jobs, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell a tenth of a point to 8 percent while the region’s unadjusted rate fell four tenths of a point to 8.6 percent.

The Labor Department blamed statewide job losses on the weather. A major storm hit Connecticut the Friday before the employment survey, causing plant shutdowns and temporary closures, the department noted.

“Though our data can’t point to any specific regions or industry sectors that would confirm the winter storm hampered job growth in February, that result seems likely,” said Andy Condon, director of the department’s Office of Research, in the jobs report.

The Danbury area was the only other region in Connecticut showing job growth last month. The Hartford and Bridgeport areas were each hit hard, losing more than 2,000 jobs each.

The private sector shed 6,600 jobs last month, leaving it just 4,000 higher than at the beginning of the year. The state’s job recovery following the end of the Great Recession now stands at only 40 percent, well below the nation’s recovery of more than 65 percent.

Don Klepper-Smith, chief economist and director of research at DataCore Partners LLC in New Haven, called the new jobs report “very disappointing and well below expectations.” In a note to clients, he added that “inflation and rising state and local tax burdens have siphoned off consumer spending power amidst a fragile recovery.”

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