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In what one economist chalked up as a "technical bounce," Connecticut gained 5,800 jobs in May.
Unfortunately, the jobs numbers reported Thursday by the state Department of Labor didn't contain good news for southeastern Connecticut. The Norwich-New London area lost 100 jobs between April and May and had 1,300 fewer jobs last month than it did in the same period a year ago.
The state's overall jobless rate remained unchanged at 6.9 percent, which was nearly a full point lower than the rate at the same point last year. Seven of the state's 10 major employment sectors showed gains.
"Connecticut nonfarm job levels now exceed levels reached before the deep winter freeze set in during January, and are now at a new recovery high," said Andy Condon, director of the Office of Research, in a statement.
But Don Klepper-Smith, an economist with DataCore Partners in New Haven, pointed out that May's numbers may seem rosier than they really were because of weak jobs numbers earlier in the year blamed on poor weather conditions.
"We continue to run at 'half speed' on job creation relative to our long-term growth rate of about 1.1 percent," Klepper-Smith said in a note to clients. "Demand for labor has diminished in a subpar growth economy, where employers tend to make do with the resources they have, not adding jobs unless it contributes to bottom line profitability or productivity."
The Connecticut Business and Industry Association called May's jobs report "good news," pointing out that the state has added 15,100 positions so far this year and now has recovered about 60 percent of the jobs it lost during the Great Recession.
Job gains in the state as whole masked major differences in various labor markets. Hartford County, which added 5,700 positions in May, saw the lion's share of the statewide gain, while New Haven and Waterbury posted modest increases and Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk joined Norwich-New London with a small decrease.
Connecticut job sectors: May vs. April 2014
|Professional and business services||+2,300|
|Trade, transportation and utilities||+2,000|
|Leisure and hospitality||+700|
|Construction and mining||-800|
|SOURCE: Connecticut Department of Labor|