Connecticut added 1,100 jobs in August, marking four consecutive months of growth after the state Department of Labor also revised July's initially reported losses.
With the July revisions—a gain of 500 jobs rather than a loss of 1,200—the state has now added 18,800 positions over the last 12 months
That's a trend that must be sustained says CBIA economic adviser Pete Gioia, noting that the private sector gained 1,900 jobs last month.
"The private sector has added 23,900 jobs year-over-year," Gioia said.
"That is a very strong number but the key challenge for Connecticut is sustaining that growth.
"We have not been able to sustain positive gains month-to-month for long periods, and we need to have that to really see long-term changes in our economy."
Connecticut is one of a handful of states yet to fully recover from the 2008-2010 recession, recovering just 88% of the 119,100 jobs lost during the economic downturn.
Private Sector Expansion
The state's private sector reached the expansion point in March this year—eight years after the recession ended—and has now recovered 113% of lost jobs.
Gioia noted that was the slowest recovery rate of the six New England states and well behind the U.S. growth rate of 229%.
Massachusetts leads all New England states in private sector job growth, recovering 369% of lost jobs, followed by New Hampshire (240%), Rhode Island (169%), Maine (144%), and Vermont (121%).
"With such robust growth at the national level, we must make sure Connecticut is part of that," Gioia said.
Connecticut's unemployment rate remains the highest in the region, despite falling one-tenth of a point to 4.3% in August. The national unemployment rate is 3.9%.
The state's labor force grew for the second consecutive month, although it remains down 15,100 people over the last 12 months, which Gioia called concerning.
"A strong labor force is critical to sustaining month-to-month job growth," he said.
Six of the state's 10 industry sectors posted gains in August, led by education and health services, which added 1,000 jobs.
Leisure and hospitality gained 700 positions, followed by professional and business services (500), construction (500), financial activities (200), and other services (100).
Education and health services leads all sectors in year-over-year growth, adding 8,600 jobs (2.6%). Construction leads in percentage terms with 6.3% growth (3,700).
With such robust growth at the national level, we must make sure Connecticut is part of that.
Trade, transportation, and utilities lost 900 jobs, followed by manufacturing (-100), and information (-100).
Manufacturing, one of the state's key economic sectors, has added 4,200 jobs (2.6%) over the last 12 months.
Financial activities, another key sector, has lost 500 jobs (-0.4%) over the same period.
"We have negative year-over-year growth for the financial sector, which is very important for well-paying jobs and very important for Fairfield County," Gioia said.
Three of the state's labor markets added jobs last month, led by Hartford, with 1,000 new positions. Hartford leads all areas over the year with 9,300 new jobs (1.6%).
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk gained 900 jobs and Waterbury added 700 positions, while Danbury was unchanged for the month.
Norwich-New London-Westerly lost 200 positions and New Haven declined by 100 jobs.