Connecticut Posts Job Losses In April, 2nd Consecutive Monthly Drop
By Steven Singer
Connecticut employers cut 1,400 jobs in April, the second consecutive month of job losses, the state Department of Labor reported Thursday.
In addition, labor department officials said more jobs were lost in March than initially expected, revising the number to a loss of 3,500 from an initial 2,000.
“There’s no positive way of saying you’ve lost almost 5,000 more jobs over the last two months,” economist Don Klepper-Smith said.
The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.5 percent. In contrast, the U.S. jobless rate was 3.9 percent in April.
Andy Condon, director of research at the Department of Labor, said that despite the loss of jobs for a second month in a row, growth remains ahead of last year’s pace.
“Of note is that the manufacturing employment is now up 2.8 percent over the year,” he said. “If this pattern holds, the sector will have overcome a decadeslong trend of declining employment.”
Manufacturing in Connecticut has benefitted from rising demand for submarines, military and commercial aerospace equipment and helicopters.
Peter Gioia, the economist for the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, said manufacturing job growth remains a bright spot in an “otherwise disappointing April employment report.”
Overall, Connecticut has recovered just 78 percent of the jobs lost in the recession. The state needs 26,200 net jobs to reach an overall employment expansion, the Department of Labor said.
Gioia said Connecticut has had “two months of bad news after four months of growth.”
“We know there are job vacancies, so a decline in the labor force is alarming,” he said.
Gioia said the loss of 700 jobs in finance and insurance is another bad omen.
“You can’t have a full jobs recovery without finance,” he said.
The state’s private sector has recovered 98.9 percent of lost jobs. Downsizing in government, which includes the two Native American tribal casinos in southeast Connecticut, has crimped overall employment growth.
Although the state posted an increase in jobs in January and February, the back-to-back losses in March and April point to a lackluster job market in Connecticut. Over the year, employment in Connecticut rose by 8,700, or just 0.5 percent.
Job losses were posted in four of the state’s labor market areas: Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Hartford, Danbury and Waterbury. The New Haven labor market area led the state in job growth, with 2,300 net new jobs. It was followed by the Norwich-New London-Westerly, R.I., labor market area.
Klepper-Smith said the April jobs report was “another disappointment built on another disappointment.” He cited the April jobs decline in addition to the revision of employment data in March that showed more jobs were lost than initially believed.
“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, now standing at 319.4 percent,” Klepper-Smith said.
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