State's monthly jobs report another downer in April

Connecticut lost an estimated 1,400 jobs in April, the second straight month of employment declines, the state Department of Labor announced Thursday.

March’s decline, previously estimated at 2,000 jobs lost, was revised downward to a loss of 3,500 jobs. Over the year, however, nonagricultural employment in the state is up by 8,700 jobs.

“Job growth remains ahead of last year’s pace,” Andy Condon, director of the department’s Office of Research, said in a statement. “Of note is that manufacturing employment is now up 2.8 percent over the year. If this pattern holds, the sector will have overcome a decades-long trend of declining employment.”

Connecticut’s unemployment rate remained at 4.5 percent in April, unchanged since March. Nationally, the jobless rate last month was 3.9 percent, down two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month.

"Our unemployment rate is now tied with Rhode Island for the region's highest, but the difference is that Rhode Island is adding jobs," Pete Gioia, an economist with the Connecticut Business and Industry, said in a news release.

He said the labor force has lost 24,000 people over the year, a trend he called “alarming” given the number of available jobs.

“In my opinion, the April jobs data was another disappointment built on another disappointment ...," Donald Klepper-Smith, chief economist and director of research for DataCore Partners, wrote in his monthly newsletter. “There's no positive way of saying you've lost almost 5,000 more jobs over the last two months.

“That said,” Klepper-Smith added, “we seem to be perpetually stuck with a job recovery rate hovering around 80 percent while states like Massachusetts continue to blow by us in economic terms, their current job recovery rate four times that of Connecticut ...”

The state reported that 1,200 private-sector jobs and 200 government jobs were lost in April. Three of the 10 major industry sectors posted job gains, led by leisure and hospitality, which added 800 jobs. Education and health services added 500 jobs and manufacturing added 300 jobs. On the downside, trade, transportation and utilities sustained the biggest decline, losing 1,400 jobs.

Two of Connecticut’s six labor market areas experienced job increases in April, including the Norwich-New London-Westerly area, which added 200 jobs. The New Haven area was the big gainer, adding 2,300 jobs.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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