Economy Takes Devastating April Hit as 266,000 Jobs Lost


Connecticut’s economy took a devastating hit in April with an historic 266,300 jobs lost as coronavirus restrictions forced business slow downs and closures.

That’s more than double the 120,000 jobs lost during the 2008-2010 recession. Over a half-million Connecticut residents have filed for unemployment benefits since mid-March.

The state Department of Labor also revised down March’s initially reported 7,600 jobs decline to a loss of 22,100.

Connecticut has lost 282,400 jobs (-16.7%) through the first four months of the year, with employment falling to 1,411,100—the lowest in more than two decades.

Most of the declines were in the private sector. Government employment, which fell by 19,900 jobs in April, includes the state’s two casinos, which shut down March 17.

“All industries saw significant declines, but the hardest hit included leisure and hospitality, retail trade, and education and health services,” said DOL research director Andy Condon.

“What remains to be seen is how many of these jobs were suspended and will return when public safety permits and how many were permanently lost.”

‘Historic Challenge’

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the state’s unemployment rate at 7.9%, which the state labor department said was “severely underestimated,” given data collection challenges.

Labor department officials believe Connecticut’s actual unemployment rate is 17.5%. It was 3.4% in March.

More than 20 million jobs were lost across the country in April. The U.S. jobless rate is 14.7%, up 10.3 points from March.

While employment hit a post-recession high in January this year, Connecticut remained one of just a handful of states that had failed to recover all jobs lost during the economic downturn.

CBIA president and CEO Joe Brennan said Connecticut’s economic recovery from the pandemic shutdown will require a new way of thinking.

“Hundreds of thousands of people are suffering and the best remedy we have is to find ways to get them back to work as quickly and as safely as possible,” he said.

‘New Way of Thinking’

Brennan called for a “dramatic reshaping” of the relationship between the state’s lawmakers and business community to lead the recovery.

“Let’s rebuild better and faster than other states,” he said. “Let’s get people back working by building a strong, vibrant private sector.

“If we don’t change our thinking, I fear many of these jobs may never return.”

CBIA’s Joe Brennan

“We have an historic challenge ahead of us, one that can only be addressed successfully if we dramatically reshape the relationship between job creators and government.

“We need a new way of thinking, a collaborative approach that focuses on promoting and driving private sector growth rather than burdening employers with overregulation and unnecessary costs.

“If we don’t change our thinking and adopt new approaches, I fear many of these jobs may never return.”

Sectors, Labor Markets

Leisure and hospitality was the hardest hit of the state’s major industry sectors, losing 72,100 positions in April—half the workforce.

Trade, transportation, and utilities lost 50,400 jobs (-17.3%), followed by education and health services (-45,200; -13.3%); professional and business services (-26,300; -11.7%); other services (-24,100; -37.4%); and government (-19,900; -8.5%).

Manufacturing declined 8.2% or 13,300 jobs last month; construction lost 10,700 (-17.6%); financial activities fell by 2,600 (-2.1%); and information dropped by 1,300 jobs or -4.1%.

All six of the state’s main labor markets declined last month, with Hartford losing 75,500 jobs or 12.9% to lead all areas.

Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk lost 70,800 jobs (-17.6%), followed by New Haven (-41,400; -14.3%); Norwich-New London-Westerly (-34,200; -26.7%); Danbury (-13,300; -17.3%); and Waterbury (-10,000; -14.7%).


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