Job Losses, Labor Force Declines Highlight Economic Challenges
Connecticut posted a second consecutive month of job losses in April while continued labor force declines reinforced growing concerns about the state’s economic outlook.
The state Department of Labor’s monthly employment report showed a loss of 900 jobs in April, with March’s previously reported gain of 1,100 jobs revised down for a loss of 1,700 positions.
Those losses offset what was a promising start to the year, with 13,900 new jobs added in January and February.
“The April employment report highlights the state’s labor market challenges,” CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima said.
“Our 12-month job growth is just 1%, 47th in the country and well behind the U.S. average of 2.6%.
“However, the biggest concern is with the labor force, which declined by another 4,400 people last month and is now down 46,500 workers over the last 12 months.”
‘Not Enough Workers’
Connecticut’s labor force—the number of employed plus those actively looking for work—contracted an alarming 2.4% in the last 12 months.
At the same time, Connecticut has 104,000 job openings—49% more than in February 2020, just before the pandemic upended the economy.
DiPentima said that while state’s 64.3% labor participation rate is relatively high, “we don’t have enough workers in the state to fill all these positions.”
“If every unemployed person was hired tomorrow, there’d still be a staggering 31,700 open jobs in the state,” he said.
“Employers have made major adjustments in wages, benefits, and workplace flexibility—our voluntary quits rate is now the fourth lowest in the country—but they cannot find enough workers.
“State lawmakers must use the last few weeks of the legislative session to address the factors driving the labor shortage.
“That means more aggressive policies to make Connecticut more affordable for residents and businesses, increasing housing inventory, improving the childcare system, and expanding career opportunities for all residents.”
Massachusetts leads the New England states in year-over-year job growth, with a 2.7% growth rate.
New Hampshire’s 12-month growth rate is 2.1%, followed by Vermont (1.9%), Maine (1.2%), Connecticut, and Rhode Island (-0.2%).
Connecticut has recovered 95% 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 (107%), Massachusetts (102%), Connecticut, Vermont (92%), and Rhode Island (89%). The U.S. average is 115%.
Connecticut’s unemployment rate fell one-tenth of point in April to 3.8%, the highest of the New England states and 11th highest in the country.
New Hampshire’s unemployment is the region’s lowest at 2.1%, followed by Maine (2.4%), Vermont (2.4%), Rhode Island (3%), Massachusetts (3.3%), and Connecticut. U.S. unemployment is 3.4%.
Industry Sector, Labor Markets
Five of Connecticut’s 10 major industry sectors added jobs in April, led by education and health services with 700 new positions (0.2%).
Government added 500 jobs (0.2%), followed by trade, transportation, and utilities (400; 0.1%), information (200; 0.1%), and other services (200; 0.3%).
The professional and business services sector posted the biggest losses, shedding 1,500 jobs (-0.7%) in April.
Manufacturing lost 600 jobs (-0.4%), followed by financial activities (-300; -0.3%), leisure and hospitality (-300, -0.2%), and construction (-200; -0.3%).
Five of the state’s six major labor market areas saw gains in April, with Waterbury (0.5%), New Haven (0.1%), and Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk (0.1%) each adding 300 jobs.
Danbury gained 200 new jobs (0.3%) while employment in the greater Hartford region grew by 100 positions (0.02%).
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1 thought on “Job Losses, Labor Force Declines Highlight Economic Challenges”
In the area of housing costs. The state can help with affordability by implementing rent stabilization policies. Rent stabilization is not rent control. Nor does rent stabilization mean that the state sets to cost of the rents to be charged. It does “stabilize” the allowable increases in rents that have already been established by the initial lease agreement. The goal of rent stabilization is to create long term affordability. Landlords also need protection from bad tenants. Any change in the laws regulating rental agreements need to address all parties concerns with the goal of creating stable housing costs, and a stable work force, for Connecticut.