Connecticut posted significant job losses for a second straight month in April, with employers shedding 1,400 positions.

Manufacturing—which now leads all sectors in job growth over the last 12 months—was one of the few positives in what CBIA economist Pete Gioia called a "disappointing report."

April jobs report: post-recession recovery"We now have two months of bad news, after four months of growth," Gioia said today.

"Manufacturing growth remains a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing April jobs report."

The state Department of Labor's monthly report also revised March's initially reported loss of 2,000 jobs down to a 3,500 decline.

The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.5%, six-tenths of a point higher than the national rate.

"Our unemployment rate is now tied with Rhode Island for the region's highest, but the difference is that Rhode Island is adding jobs," Gioia said.

Shrinking Labor Force

Gioia also noted continuing concerns with the state's shrinking labor force, which declined by 3,700 last month and is down 24,000 people over the past 12 months.

Connecticut has regained just 78% of the 119,100 jobs lost during the 2008-2010 recession. Job growth over the last 12 months is a lackluster 0.5%.

Private sector employers shed 1,200 jobs last month. The state's private sector has added 11,000 jobs year-over-year, or 0.8%.

Jobs and the state's sluggish economic performance—Connecticut's economy has contracted in four of the past five years—will be major campaign issues for General Assembly and gubernatorial candidates this election season.

"We know there are job vacancies, so a decline in the labor force is alarming," Gioia said.

"We still need to really concentrate on the economy as job number one."

Industry Sectors

Three of the state's main industry sectors added jobs in April, led by leisure and hospitality with 800 new positions.

Education and health services gained 500 jobs while the manufacturing sector added 300 positions.

With 2.8% growth (4,500 new jobs) over the last 12 months, manufacturing leads all sectors in percentage terms.

Education and health services leads all sectors in the number of new jobs year-over-year, adding 5,500 positions (1.6%).

Other services was unchanged for the month.

Our unemployment rate is now tied with Rhode Island for the region's highest, but the difference is they are adding jobs.
Trade, transportation, and utilities led all losing sectors, shedding 1,400 jobs in April. That sector is essentially flat over the last 12 months.

The key financial activities sector lost 900 jobs last month and is now down 0.4% year-over-year.

"That's a concern," Gioia said. "You can't have a full jobs recovery without finance."

Construction and mining declined by 300 jobs, followed by government (-200), professional and business services (-100), and information (-100).

Two of the state's six main labor market areas grew in April, with New Haven adding 2,300 jobs and Norwich-New London-Westerly 200.

Hartford lost 1,900 jobs last month, followed by Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk (-900), Waterbury (-200), and Danbury (-100).