Connecticut employers added a record 73,300 jobs in June, with major gains in three of the industry sectors hit hardest by COVID-19 shutdowns and restrictions.
Based on June's preliminary employment report, the state has now recovered 35% of the 291,300 jobs lost in March and April.
CBIA president and CEO Joe Brennan called the gains "a positive step," while adding a cautionary note about the uncertain nature of the state's economic recovery.
"Connecticut is a leader in its response to the coronavirus and one of the major reasons is that most residents are following the state's guidelines for wearing masks, social distancing, and hygiene practices," he said.
"The job numbers are encouraging. However, we cannot let down our guard—this recovery is fragile and we need everyone in the state following the rules to get people back to work as quickly as possible."
Connecticut's reported unemployment rate was 9.8% in June, although state Department of Labor state officials warned the actual rate is 16%-17%, with data gathering issues blamed for the gap.
The U.S. jobless rate is 11.1%, down from 13.3% in May. Unemployment in the six New England states ranges from 6.6% in Maine to 17.4% in Massachusetts.
The Connecticut labor department has received 708,462 unemployment compensation applications since mid-March and paid out $3.8 billion in state and federal benefits.
The state's Unemployment Trust Fund balance is now at $122 million, with federal loans likely as the pandemic's impact continues.
Employers could see hikes in unemployment taxes should the state be forced to borrow to shore up its fund, which faced significant solvency issues prior to the pandemic.
Overall, Connecticut has lost 183,600 jobs (-10.8%) through the first six months of the year.
Brennan said the private sector accounted for 91% of the state's COVID-19 job losses, adding that percentage was "certainly higher" as employment at Connecticut's two casinos is included in the government sector.
He noted that the first two phases of the state's reopening resulted in significant employment gains in the leisure and hospitality, trade, transportation, and utilities, and education and health services sectors.
"Those three sectors bore the brunt of the early heavy job losses brought on by the business shutdowns and restrictions," Brennan said.
"We are also encouraged by solid gains in the manufacturing, construction, and services sectors although the financial activities sector continues to see losses."
Sectors, Labor Markets
Leisure and hospitality, which lost 87,900 jobs (-56%) in March and April, led all sectors in June, adding 21,900 positions (26.6%).
Trade, transportation, and utilities added 19,100 jobs (7.7%) and has now recovered 47% of the sector's 52,800 COVID-19 losses.
Education and health services gained 16,300 positions (5.4%) last month and has recovered 41% of its pandemic-related losses.
Other services added 6,800 jobs (14.9%) in June, followed by government (5,100; 2.5%), construction (2,800; 5.2%), manufacturing (1,100; 0.7%), and professional and business services (600; 0.3%).
The information sector was unchanged for the month and financial activities lost 400 jobs (-0.3%).
Information and financial activities are the only two sectors that continued to lose jobs after overall employment numbers bottomed out in April.
All six of the state's major labor market areas posted gains in June, led by Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, which added 17,300 jobs (5.2%).
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford saw 12,900 new jobs (2.5%), followed by New Haven (12,200; 4.9%), Norwich-New London-Westerly (11,600; 12%), Danbury (4,600; 7%), and Waterbury (2,500; 4.5%).