2023 Brings 22,700 New Jobs; Labor Force Declines Continue

01.24.2024
2023 Job Growth
Economy

Connecticut employers added 22,700 jobs in 2023, with most industry sectors posting significant gains for the year.

Employment grew 1.4% in 2023—fourth best in the region and 32nd among all states—and reached full pandemic recovery in October before posting losses in November and December.

The Connecticut Department of Labor’s December 2023 employment report showed a loss of 2,600 jobs over the last two months of the year.

“Obviously, this is a frustrating end to what really was a promising year for job growth,” said CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima. 

Massachusetts led the region last year with 1.9% growth, followed by New Hampshire (1.7%), Maine (1.4%), Connecticut, Vermont (0.5%), and Rhode Island (0.4%). The U.S. averaged 1.7% growth.

The 2023 job growth numbers are preliminary, with the final benchmarked employment report expected in March.

Labor Force Declines

Connecticut’s labor force—those working and those actively looking for work—declined another 14,300 people last year and is down 37,900 people since February 2020.

Over the same period, job openings have increased by 21%, with the labor shortage continuing to impact economic growth.

“There continues to be significant demand for Connecticut products and services,” DiPentima said. 

“We now have approximately 1.2 job openings for every unemployed person—what we need are the people to fill them.

2023 Job Growth
Connecticut’s 2023 job growth was 32nd best among all states.

“We must attract more people to the state and that means renewed focus on making Connecticut a more attractive and affordable place to live and work.”

The unemployment rate increased two-tenths of a point to 3.8%—36th highest in the country—while the labor participation rate remained unchanged at 64.1%, 19th best of all states.

DiPentima added that CBIA will continue to advocate for solutions to the labor shortage during the legislative session, which begins next month. 

“Opportunity is central to those solutions,” he said. “We cannot solve the crisis without improving and implementing career pathways for women, immigrants, returning citizens, veterans, and those from underserved and often forgotten communities.”

Industry Sectors, Labor Markets

Employment grew in seven of Connecticut’s 10 major industry sectors in 2023, led by education and health services, which added 8,900 jobs (2.6%)—despite losing 2,000 jobs in December.

Trade, transportation, and utilities gained 5,000 positions (1.7%), followed by government (4,700; 2.1%), leisure and hospitality (3,500; 2.3%), other services (2,500; 4.1%), professional and business services (2,000; 0.9%), and information (200; 0.6%).

Financial activities, one of the state’s key economic sectors, posted the largest losses of any sector last year, losing 3,000 jobs or 2.6%.

Connecticut 2023 Job Growth
Employment grew in all but three of Connecticut’s main industry sectors in 2023.

Manufacturing, another critical economic driver, lost 700 jobs (-0.4%), while construction employment fell by 400 (-0.7%).

All but one of the state’s six major labor market areas saw job gains in 2023, led by New Haven, which added 6,700 positions (2.2%).

Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk added 5,300 positions (1.3%), followed by Norwich-New London-Westerly (3,300; 2.7%), Waterbury (900; 1.3%), and Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford (900; 0.2%).

Employment in the Danbury labor market fell by 100 (-0.1%) last year.

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