Connecticut's COVID-19 recovery continued for a third consecutive month in July with employers adding 26,500 jobs during the month.

The state has now recovered 132,200—45%—of the 291,300 jobs lost in March and April because of COVID-19 shutdowns and restrictions.

The state's reported unemployment rate is 10.2%, although state labor department officials say that number underestimates the true jobless rate, which they estimate is in the 15% range.

The national unemployment rate is also at 10.2%. Through July, U.S. employers have recovered 42% of 22.2 million lost jobs.

Rhode Island leads the New England states in job recovery at 50%, followed by Vermont (48%), Connecticut, Maine (42%), New Hampshire (42%), and Massachusetts (32%).

CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima welcomed the July employment report, while casting a cautionary eye to the fall and winter.

“This is a positive report, particularly with some of the hardest hit sectors—including retail trade and leisure and hospitality—again among the big gainers,” DiPentima said.

“Connecticut continues to be well-positioned in terms of the state’s overall economic rebound and we must do everything we can to help employers nurture and protect that recovery.”

Uncertainty Ahead

DiPentima said a number of questions surround the state’s economic recovery, including the pending school year, the role of federal stimulus and unemployment benefit programs, and the likelihood of a resurgence of the coronavirus in the fall and winter.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty for instance around the new school year,” he said.

“What’s going to be the impact on employers with schools employing a range of models to educate students? Can our child care system support that?

“The prospect of another wave or surge in the coronavirus this fall and winter has employers very nervous about what lies ahead.

“Connecticut cannot risk another economic shutdown, whether narrow or broad. There’s a lot at risk here and we have to get it right.”

DiPentima said the private sector accounts for at least 91% of COVID-19 job losses, with that percentage "certainly higher" as casino employment is included in the government sector.

Overall, Connecticut has lost 153,100 jobs (-9%) through the year to date. 

Sector, Labor Markets

Leisure and hospitality, which lost 87,900 jobs (-56%) in March and April, led all sectors in July, adding 11,600 positions (11.1%).

Other services gained 4,300 jobs (8.2%) last month and has recovered 66% of the 24,000 positions lost in March and April.

Trade, transportation, and utilities added 7,800 jobs (2.1%) and has recovered 59% of the sector's 52,800 COVID-19 losses.

The construction sector added 1,000 jobs (1.8%) last month, followed by professional and business services (3,000; 1.5%); manufacturing (600; 0.4%); financial activities (300; 0.3%); and education and health services (600; 0.2%).

"Connecticut cannot risk another economic shutdown. There’s a lot at risk here."

CBIA's Chris DiPentima

The government sector—which includes casinos and municipal, state, and federal workers—lost 2,600 jobs (-1.2%) in July and the information sector declined by 200 (-0.7%).

All six of the state's major labor markets added jobs last month, led by Hartford-West-Hartford-East Hartford with a gain of 12,300 (2.3%).

Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk gained 9,200 jobs (2.7%), followed by New Haven (5,100; 1.9%); Norwich-New London-Westerly (3,100; 2.9%); Danbury (2,900; 4.2%); and Waterbury (800; 1.4%).