State adds 1,700 jobs in June

Connecticut’s unemployment rate reached its lowest point since December 2008 last month, falling to 6.7 percent, the state Department of Labor reported Thursday.

The June rate is down two-tenths of a percentage point over May’s rate and down 1.2 percentage points over the June 2013 rate of 7.9 percent.

Preliminary estimates of nonfarm employment indicate the state added 1,700 jobs last month, the fifth straight monthly increase.

“Connecticut’s unemployment rate continues to decline for all the right reasons, such as broad industry job growth coupled with declining unemployment, and an expanding labor force,” Andy Condon, director of the department’s Office of Research, said. “Summer seasonal hiring seems to have begun at expected rates.”

The June data show that four of the state’s six major Labor Market Areas posted job gains. The Hartford and Norwich-New London areas, however, experienced declines.

Connecticut has now recovered 73,500 positions, or nearly 62 percent of the nonfarm jobs lost during the March 2008-to-February 2010 employment downturn, the labor department reported. The state’s jobs recovery is now 52 months old and is averaging approximately 1,413 jobs per month overall since February 2010. The private sector, which has recuperated at a faster pace, has recovered nearly 74 percent of the jobs it lost during the same period.

Don Klepper-Smith, chief economist for DataCore Partners of New Haven, pointed out in a newsletter Thursday that nationally, the jobs-recovery rate exceeds 100 percent.

“So we’ve recovered all of our jobs nationally, but still have a long way to go here in Connecticut,” he said. “My bottom line assessment is that the June employment figures for Connecticut were essentially lackluster, given the solid 288,000 job gain we saw nationally. … On a year-over-year basis, the nation posted job growth of 1.8 percent, and we’re running at about one-sixth that rate of expansion in Connecticut, up only 0.3 percent, or 5,300 jobs.

“In this respect, watching the Connecticut labor market progress is like watching paint dry.”

Pete Gioia, economist for the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, said Connecticut needs to “pick up the pace” in recovering jobs. He said policymakers need to focus on creating a climate that encourages more private investment.

Seven of the 10 major industry sectors added jobs in June, according to the state’s figures. Government was the top job-gaining sector, adding 1,200 positions, most of them on the state level. The Department of Labor noted that the state is no longer seeing the summer uptick in tribal casino hiring — measured as local government — that it had in the past.

The leisure and hospitality sector lost 1,000 jobs, the most of any sector.

Job growth by sector

June vs. May 2014

Government +1,200

Professional & business services +700

Trade, transportation & utilities +600

Educational & health services +400

Manufacturing +300

Construction & mining +200

Information +100

Financial activities —200

Other services —600

Leisure & hospitality —1,000

Source: Connecticut Department of Labor


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