Job Growth Slows; Labor Force Declines Continue
Connecticut’s job growth slowed in March following a strong first two months of the year, with the government sector accounting for more than half the 1,100 new jobs.
March also marked the third consecutive month of declines in the labor force—those employed plus those actively looking for work—with year-over-year losses now at 44,700 (-2.3%).
Connecticut’s 12-month job growth rate is just 1.3%—tied for 48th in the country and the slowest of the New England states.
“Adding another 1,100 jobs—including 500 in the private sector—is encouraging, however we are not keeping pace with overall demand,” CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima said.
“Connecticut has 100,000 job openings—43% more than before the pandemic—yet if every unemployed person was hired tomorrow, 24,700 positions would remain unfilled.
“That must send a signal to policymakers that now is the time to address the workforce crisis.”
‘Grow the Population’
Massachusetts leads the New England states in year-over-year growth at 2.8%, followed by New Hampshire (2.4%), Vermont (1.7%), Rhode Island (1.6%), Maine (1.5%), and Connecticut.
The U.S. year-over-year job growth rate is 2.7%.
DiPentima called for state lawmakers to address the factors driving the labor shortage “with solutions that lower the cost of living, reduce the cost of doing business, expand housing options, and make childcare more affordable and accessible for families.”
“Connecticut has one of the highest labor participation rates in the country, the third lowest voluntary quits rate, but also one of the lowest hiring rates,” he said.
“That underscores the challenges that our employers are facing as they look to meet demand for their products and services.
“Growing the labor force means growing the population and expanding access to meaningful career pathways for all communities and residents.”
Connecticut has recovered 97% of the historic 289,100 jobs lost in March and April of 2020 to pandemic shutdowns and restrictions.
New Hampshire has the highest recovery rate at 109%, followed by Maine (106%), Massachusetts (102%), Connecticut, Rhode Island (94%), and Vermont (88%).
The U.S. continues to expand, with the national recovery rate at 115%.
Connecticut’s unemployment rate was 4% in March—unchanged from February and the highest of the New England states.
The national unemployment rate is 3.5%.
Industry Sector, Labor Markets
Employment in five of Connecticut’s 10 major industry sectors grew in March, led by professional and business services with 2,200 new jobs (1%).
Government added 600 positions (0.3%), followed by other services (500; 0.8%), trade, transportation, and utilities (100; 0.03%), and education and health services (100; 0.03%).
Information sector employment was unchanged.
Construction and mining lost 1,800 jobs (-2.9%), followed by financial activities (-200; -0.2%), leisure and hospitality (-200, -0.1%), and manufacturing (-200; -0.1%).
New Haven was the only one of the six major Connecticut labor market areas to post gains in March, adding 300 new jobs (0.1%).
Employment in the Hartford and the Norwich-New London-Westerly labor markets was unchanged for the month.
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk lost 500 jobs (-0.1%) while Waterbury and Danbury each saw employment levels fall by 200 positions (-0.3%).
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