Connecticut added 2,900 jobs in August, marking an eighth straight month of growth as the state continues its pandemic recovery.
The Connecticut Department of Labor also revised July’s originally announced gains of 6,500, adding 2,200 more jobs to this month’s gains.
The latest jobs report showed signs that job seekers could return to the market, with the jobless rate rising a quarter of a point to 4.1% as the state’s labor force grew by 5,700 people.
“Normally, we wouldn’t see an increase in the unemployment rate as a positive,” said CBIA President and CEO Chris DiPentima.
“However, those who enter or re-enter the labor force often start out unemployed.”
“The Biggest Threat”
While the labor shortage is a national problem, Connecticut is feeling its impact more intensely than other states.
Connecticut’s labor force has declined by 45,100 people or 2.3% since February 2020, or 41% of the region’s losses. The American workforce has recouped all of the losses caused by the pandemic and is now in growth mode.
“The labor shortage is a crisis and remains the biggest threat to the state’s economic recovery,” DiPentima said.
“There are a number of factors driving this shortage, including some pre-pandemic issues, such as the state’s high cost of living and high cost of doing business.”
In July, there were 113,000 job openings in the state. Even if every unemployed person found work, 35,200 positions (31%) would remain vacant.
“The labor shortage is why the AABC is asking election candidates to support our just-released Transform Connecticut policy recommendations, designed to open doors for all residents,” DiPentima said. .
“We need to tackle the high cost of living and running a business, build pathways to rewarding careers, and leverage the state’s many assets to make our economy more vibrant, more robust, and more fair.”
Connecticut has now recovered 88% of the 289,400 jobs lost due to pandemic-related restrictions and closures in March and April 2020, with a US recovery rate of 101%.
Maine leads the New England states with a 96% recovery rate, followed by Rhode Island (92%), New Hampshire (91%), Massachusetts (91%), Connecticut and Vermont (80%).
Massachusetts leads the region in year-to-date job growth at 2.4%, with a national average of 2.3%.
Rhode Island’s year-to-date job growth is 2.2%, followed by Connecticut (1.7%), Vermont (1.5%), Maine (1.4%) and New Hampshire (0.9%).
Industrial sectors, Labor markets
Seven of Connecticut’s major industrial sectors posted employment gains in August, led by professional and business services with 1,600 new jobs (0.7%).
The education and health services sector gained 1,000 jobs (0.3%), followed by manufacturing (900; 0.6%), construction and mining (700; 1.1%), information (600; 2%), trade, transport and public services (400; 0.1%) and other services (200; 0.3%).
The financial activities sector remained unchanged.
The public sector, which includes casino employment, lost 2,200 jobs (-1%) and leisure and hospitality fell 0.2% (-300).
All six major labor markets posted gains, led by Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk with 4,600 new jobs (1.2%).
Norwich-New London-Westerly (0.7%) and Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford (0.2%) both added 900 jobs, followed by Waterbury (400; 0.6%), Danbury (400; 0 .5%) and New Haven (200; 0.1%).