Connecticut added 6,500 jobs in May, while unemployment fell again, according to preliminary data released Thursday by the state Labor Department, figures that highlight the steady recovery the state has been charting since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Including last month’s gain, the state increased employment by 2 percent last year and regained 86 percent of the 289,400 jobs lost in March and April 2020 during the shutdown caused by the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to DOL data.
“Connecticut’s unemployment rate is now at record lows. This is continued good news for job seekers across all industries and demographics,” Department of Labor Commissioner Danté Bartolomeo said in a statement. “While state economists continue to monitor the impact of energy costs and inflation, Connecticut is showing strong and consistent month-over-month progress both in recovering from the pandemic and out of the market anomalies caused by the pandemic “.
The state’s unemployment rate fell last month from 4 percent to 3.7 percent. But it’s still a work in progress above the national rate, which was 3.5% last month. In June, the most recent month in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ aggregate data on state unemployment levels, Connecticut had the 12th highest unemployment rate. Among neighboring states, the unemployment rate in June was 3.7% in Massachusetts, 4.4% in New York and 2.7% in Rhode Island.
Last month, six of the state’s 10 sectors expanded employment. Government was by far the biggest job creator, adding 3,900 positions. This growth was followed by increases of 1,700 in education and health services; 1,500 under construction; 800 in trade, transport and public services; 700 in manufacturing; and 500 in professional and business services.
“Job growth has been steady in 2022 and the unemployment rate has fallen to its level in early 2019,” Patrick Flaherty, director of research at the Labor Department, said in a statement. “Many industries are above pre-pandemic levels, including construction, wholesale trade and professional, scientific and technical services.”
Employment decreased in four sectors in July. Leisure and hospitality lost 600 places, along with declines of 400 in “other services”, 200 in information and 100 in financial activities.
Like every month, the Labor Department also reported revisions to the previous month’s data on Thursday. It updated the state’s June job gain to 3,000 from an initially estimated increase of 1,700.
Officials with the Connecticut Business and Industry Association said they were encouraged by the July numbers, but said the state’s economy still faced headwinds.
“Our year-to-date employment growth is 1.4 per cent, which also trails the national rate of 2.2 per cent, highlighting the need for greater focus on addressing these obstacles to a faster recovery,” said CBIA CEO and President Chris DiPentima. a statement “The labor shortage crisis remains one of our biggest obstacles to growth, with the labor force shrinking by 2,100 people last month. Connecticut has 105,000 open jobs, and if every unemployed person were hired tomorrow , we would still have 34,600 open jobs.”
Even before the pandemic, Connecticut still hadn’t recovered all the jobs lost in its 2008-2010 recession. In July, about 1.66 million people were employed in Connecticut, compared to 1.70 million in February 2020 and 1.72 million in March 2008.
“Policies that make Connecticut more affordable for people and businesses, as well as public-private partnerships, including the state’s recent one. launched the CareerConneCT training programsthey are critical to growing our workforce,” DiPentima added.
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