CBIA economist Pete Gioia described today's August employment report as "bitterly disappointing," saying it reinforced the urgent need to address Connecticut's economic challenges.

Job growth for August was essentially flat, with just 300 new positions. However, it was the revisions to the July jobs report that were particularly troubling.

Unemployment in New England
Connecticut is tied with Rhode Island for the highest unemployment in New England.

In releasing the August employment numbers, the state's Department of Labor revised its earlier July estimates—a gain of 1,700 jobs—down significantly, reporting a loss of 800 positions for that month.

"This report is bitterly disappointing,” said Gioia. "On balance, this is a report we wish we didn't get.

"On one hand, we get tremendous news like Pratt & Whitney's announcement last Friday that they'll be adding up to 8,000 new jobs in Connecticut over the next decade.

“Yet just as we're celebrating that, these numbers show that the state economy's foundation needs to be fortified."

Private Sector Losses, Government Gains

Private sector employment fell by 1,500 jobs in August, while the public sector added 1,800 positions for the month.

Year-over-year, Connecticut employers have now added 18,600 jobs, or just 1.1% growth.

The unemployment rate fell one-tenth of a point to 5.6% in August, tied with Rhode Island for the highest in New England and three-tenths of a point higher than this time last year.

At 3%, New Hampshire has New England's lowest jobless rate. Unemployment in Massachusetts fell to 3.9% in August—the lowest in 15 years—as that state added 5,900 jobs for the month.

Connecticut has recovered just 81% of all jobs lost in the recession, the slowest recovery rate in the region.
Connecticut has recovered just 81% of the 119,100 jobs lost during the 2008-2010 recession, the slowest recovery rate in the region.

Massachusetts leads all New England states, with an astounding 270% recovery rate, according to DataCore Partners. The national average is 170%.

“This points to an underlying funk in the job market here in Connecticut," Gioia said.

“Connecticut can reach a much greater potential by reforming our fiscal policies to encourage more job creating investment.

"And, in light of reports like this, the state elections coming up in November are more important than ever.”

Industry Sectors

Just four of the state's major industry sectors posted gains in August, led by education and health services, which added 2,000 jobs, followed by government.

Leisure and hospitality gained 1,100 new positions, with information adding 300 jobs.

Construction and mining led the six losing sectors, shedding 1,700 jobs in August, its third consecutive month of losses.

Other services lost 1,400 jobs, followed by professional and business services (-800), financial activities (-600), manufacturing (-300), and trade, transportation, and utilities (-100).

“Financial services, manufacturing, and construction are key sectors to the recovery of quality jobs in the state,” Gioia noted.