Connecticut's April employment report clearly shows where lawmakers should focus as they work to resolve the state's $5 billion budget deficit.

The state lost 1,500 jobs last month, with the Department of Labor also revising the March numbers down from a gain of 1,300 to a gain of 600.

New England Job Growth"This report should be setting off alarm bells at the state Capitol," CBIA economist Pete Gioia said.

"Connecticut continues to trail the region and the country in job and economic growth.”

Gioia said job growth must be the guiding principle for lawmakers during the current budget negotiations.

“It's imperative that the state's budget rebuilds confidence to create solid business investment that leads to jobs here in the state. The two are intertwined,” he said.

“We can't expect to add jobs and grow the economy without solving our fiscal issues.”

'Serious Outlier'

Connecticut has added 5,500 jobs (0.3%) since April 2016, the slowest year-over-year growth of the New England states.

New Hampshire leads the region with 1.8% job growth over that period, followed by Massachusetts (1.6%), and Rhode Island (1%). The U.S. added jobs at a 1.5% rate over the last 12 months.

“Connecticut is a serious outlier," Gioia said.

We can't expect to add jobs and grow the economy without solving our fiscal issues.
— CBIA economist Pete Gioia
In seven-plus years, Connecticut has recovered 75% of the total jobs lost during the recession, also the slowest recovery in the region.

The state's unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a point in April to 4.9%, highest in the region. The U.S. unemployment rate is 4.4%.

Last week, a U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis report showed Connecticut's economy grew a modest 1% in 2016, second slowest of the New England states and 32nd among all states.

The New England region posted 1.7% GDP growth in 2016, led by New Hampshire (3%) and Massachusetts (2%), while the U.S. averaged 1.5%.

Industry Sectors, Labor Markets

Six of the state's 10 industry sectors lost jobs during April, led by professional and business services, which declined by 3,000 positions, all in administrative and support services.

Trade, transportation, and utilities shed 1,400 jobs, followed by education and health services (-700), manufacturing (-600), government (-500), and information (-300).

Construction and mining added 2,800 jobs for the month, other services grew by 2,700 positions, and leisure and hospitality gained 2,000 additional jobs.

Financial activities was unchanged for the month.

New Haven led all regional labor market areas last month with 900 new jobs, followed by Danbury (600) and Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk (200).

At 1.7%, Danbury has the best year-over-year job growth in percentage terms, adding 1,300 jobs. Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford has gained 5,200 jobs (0.9%) since April 2016.

Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford lost 1,000 jobs last month, Norwich-New London-Westerly declined by 800, and Waterbury shrank by 200 positions.