Connecticut lost 2,000 more jobs last month, labor department reports

Connecticut lost 2,000 jobs in September, the third straight month of declines, though the state’s unemployment rate fell to “a quite low” 4.6 percent, the state Department of Labor reported Thursday.

August’s preliminary figure of 3,900 jobs lost was revised to 4,200 jobs lost. The numbers come from business payroll surveys administered by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“September’s decline of 2,000 seasonally adjusted payroll jobs caps a slow third quarter for Connecticut job growth,” Andy Condon, director of the department’s Office of Research, said in a statement. “Annual job growth is now only 3,500, though the private sector is doing considerably better. Yet, at the same time, the state’s unemployment rate fell to a quite low 4.6 percent.”

The 7,900 jobs lost over the last three months leave the state’s economy “on the edge of recession,” Don Klepper-Smith, chief economist and director of research for DataCore Partners, wrote Thursday in this monthly newsletter. He characterized September’s numbers as “a huge disappointment.”

According to the labor department, the number of the state’s unemployed residents fell by 5,032 last month, while the number of residents employed dropped by 4,344, causing September’s unemployment rate to fall by two-tenths of a point over August’s. Last month’s rate also was down two-tenths of a point from last September's.

The U.S. jobless rate in September was 4.2 percent, down two-tenths of a point from August.

The state’s private sector employment fell by 1,100 jobs in September but still is up by 7,100 jobs over the first nine months of the year, the labor department reported. The government “supersector,” which includes all federal, state and local employment, including public higher education and southeastern Connecticut’s tribal casinos, lost 900 jobs last month, and over the year has lost 3,600 jobs.

Three of the state’s six labor market areas, or LMAs, experienced job losses in September while two, including the Norwich-New London LMA, were unchanged. Only the New Haven LMA posted job gains in the month.

According to the state jobs report, the private sector workweek averaged 33.8 hours in September, down one-tenth of an hour from the same month a year ago. Average hourly earnings were $30.92 last month, up 54 cents, or 1.8 percent, from September 2016’s average rate of $30.38. The resulting weekly pay in the private sector amounted to $1,045.10, an increase of $15.22, or 1.5 percent, over a year ago.

In his monthly analysis of Connecticut’s recovery of jobs lost in the Great Recession, considered the period from March 2008 to February 2010, Klepper-Smith writes that the state remains 28,400 jobs away from attaining full recovery.

“This means,” he writes, “that Connecticut is not likely to revisit its prior job peak of 1,713,300 jobs achieved in early 2008 anytime soon, and that we're more apt to see the onset of a full-blown domestic recession before that time.”

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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