Strong Opening for 2023 Job Growth
Connecticut employers added 8,700 jobs in January, kicking off 2023 in strong form, although year-over-year growth trails the country.
The state Department of Labor’s latest monthly employment report shows year-over-year growth of 35,300 jobs.
Still, Connecticut lags most neighboring states and the nation in job growth.
The state’s 2.1% 12-month job growth is the third slowest in the New England region, and is well below the 2.9% national average.
Massachusetts’ 3.2% 12-month job growth leads the region, followed by New Hampshire (2.9%), Maine (2.6%), Connecticut, Vermont (2%), and Rhode Island (1.9%).
As of December 2022, Connecticut has 100,000 job openings—43% more than in February 2020.
The state’s labor force—the number of employed workers plus those actively looking for work–shrunk 1,500 in the latest report, and is down 43,900 people (-2%) since January 2022.
“We’re coming up on four years since COVID upended our economy,” said CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima.
“We must accelerate efforts to solve the worker shortage crisis, which remains the biggest threat to our economy.
“Even if every unemployed person was hired tomorrow, we would still have 24,500 unfilled positions.
“Connecticut has one of the lowest quits and separations rates in the country, highlighting how effectively our employers responded to the pandemic to meet and address the changing needs of our employees.”
Connecticut has recovered 95% of the historic 289,100 jobs lost in March and April of 2020 due to pandemic shutdowns and restrictions.
Maine has the highest recovery rate at 109%, followed by New Hampshire (108%), Massachusetts (100%), Connecticut, Rhode Island (90%), and Vermont (86%).
The U.S. continues to grow with a 114% recovery rate.
The unemployment rate in Connecticut ticked down one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.9%—higher than both the 2.6% New England average and 3.5% national rate.
“Policymakers are considering numerous proposals addressing the factors driving the worker shortage, and it’s critical they seize this opportunity to implement meaningful, sustainable solutions,” DiPentima said.
“However, we’re concerned that some are choosing this moment to pursue additional, costly workplace mandates that are particularly harmful to small businesses, the heart of our economy.
“We need solutions that address the high costs of living and running a business here, that expand career pathways and support small businesses—not policies that will only drive employees away.”
Industry Sector, Labor Markets
Seven of Connecticut’s 10 major industry sectors grew in January, led by professional and business services with 3,700 new jobs (1.7%).
The education and health services sector gained 2,300 positions (0.7%), followed by construction and mining (1,400; 2.3%), trade, transportation, and utilities (1,300; 0.4%), leisure and hospitality (700; 0.5%), other services (500; 0.8%), and government (300; 0.1%).
The financial activities sector lost 1,000 jobs (-0.9%), followed by manufacturing (-300; 0.2%) and information (-200; 0.6%).
All six of the major Connecticut labor market areas posted gains, led by the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk region (3,200; 0.8%).
The New Haven region gained 2,000 jobs (0.7%), followed by Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford (1,900; 0.3%), Waterbury (400; 0.6%), Norwich-New London-Westerly (300; 0.2%), and Danbury (200; 0.3%).
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