April Jobs Report Highlights State’s Recovery Challenges
Connecticut’s jobs recovery slowed in April, with employers adding just 1,600 net jobs amid mixed results across industry sectors.
Manufacturing gains and seasonal growth in leisure and hospitality offset concerning losses in the trade, transportation, and utilities, information, and professional and business services sectors.
Through the first four months of the year, the state has added 11,300 jobs. That 0.7% growth rate is half the national rate and the slowest of the New England states.
“At this rate, we will not recover all jobs lost to pandemic shutdowns and restrictions for at least another 18 months—and that’s assuming that fears of a recession are not realized,” said Eric Gjede, CBIA’s vice president of public policy.
“The slow, uncertain pace of our recovery must be addressed by candidates for governor and the General Assembly on the campaign trail this year with meaningful policy solutions.”
At 2.1%, New Hampshire has the fastest year-to-date job growth in the region, followed by Maine (1.9%), Massachusetts (1.8%), Rhode Island (1.5%), Vermont (1%), and Connecticut.
Connecticut has recovered 82% of the 289,400 jobs lost in March and April of 2020 to pandemic-related shutdowns and restrictions.
Maine leads the region at 99%, followed by New Hampshire (98%), Rhode Island (89%), Massachusetts (88%), and Vermont (77%). The U.S. recovery rate is 95%.
Connecticut’s labor force grew by 9,000 last month and is now down 62,700 people (-3.2%) since February 2020—almost half the region’s losses and 12% of the national decline.
Gjede said the worker shortage crisis was making it “almost impossible” for employers to find skilled candidates to fill the state’s 110,000 job openings.
“Employers are dealing with numerous challenges, including inflation, supply chain disruptions, the surge in COVID positivity rates, and the labor shortage crisis, which is magnified in Connecticut,” he said.
“If every unemployed person in the state was hired tomorrow, we’d still have more than 26,000 job openings in Connecticut.”
Unemployment fell two-tenths of a point to 4.4% last month, the highest in the region. The U.S. jobless rate is 3.6%.
Industry Sectors, Labor Markets
Five of the state’s main industry sectors added jobs in April and five declined, with seasonal hiring needs driving the 3,000 positions (2.1%) added in the leisure and hospitality sector.
Manufacturing grew for an eighth consecutive month, adding 1,000 jobs (0.6%), and has now recovered 86% of its pandemic losses.
Financial activities added 600 jobs (0.5%) followed by other services (400; 0.7%) and construction and mining (300; 0.5%).
Trade, transportation, and utilities led all losing sectors, shedding 1,200 jobs (-0.4%).
Information declined by 1,000 positions (-3.2%), followed by professional and business services (-800; -0.4%), education and health services (-400; -0.1%), and government (-300; -0.1%).
Four of the state’s six main labor markets posted gains last month, led by Hartford, which added 2,000 jobs or 0.4%.
Norwich-New London-Westerly added 900 jobs (0.8%), followed by Danbury (300; 0.4%), and Waterbury (200; 0.3%).
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk lost 2,100 jobs (-0.5%) and New Haven declined by 200 positions (-0.1%).
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