Connecticut faces renewed economic concerns after new employment figures revealed a disappointing gain of just 11,600 jobs in 2015--almost half the previously reported gains for the year.
Released today, the Department of Labor's annual benchmark report overturns its January estimates for last year, initially thought to be the state's second best year for jobs since the recession ended in 2010.
Instead, 2015 will go down as the second slowest post-recession year for job growth, a troubling sign as Connecticut's economy continues to lag the region and the nation.
“The economy still has some challenges with it,” said CBIA economist Pete Gioia.
“Yes, we’re growing but we’re growing at perhaps a slower pace that we anticipated or hoped for.”
Gioia said he was surprised at the disparity between the initial estimates and the final report, saying the benchmarking process often makes adjustments of a few thousand jobs, never in the 10,000-plus range.
Employment figures for the prior year are revised every March, comparing monthly survey results to unemployment tax reports.
The labor department also reported the state added 900 jobs in January--with just 100 private sector jobs--for year-over-year growth of 9,800 new positions.
Connecticut has now recovered 72.8% of the 119,100 jobs lost during the recession. The private sector has seen more growth, regaining 86%.
Unemployment in Connecticut rose one-tenth of a point in January to 5.5%, the highest of any of the six New England states.
The national jobless rate is 4.9%.
“This report confirms the need for the state to change it way it does business,” said CBIA senior vice president of public policy Brian Flaherty.
“This should be a call to action for lawmakers--that without immediate, urgently needed reforms, the state faces an uncertain future.”
Six of Connecticut's 10 main industry sectors added jobs in January, led by leisure and hospitality with 2,000 new positions. That sector also posted the largest year-over-year gains, with 4,700 jobs.
Financial activities added 1,300 jobs in January, followed by other services (900), government (800), construction and mining (400), and manufacturing (200).
Education and health services, the state's largest employment sector, shed 2,300 jobs last month and has lost 1,200 positions since January 2015.
Both the professional and business services and trade, transportation, and utilities sectors lost 1,300 jobs for the month.
The information sector was unchanged.
The Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford labor market area gained 2,900 jobs in January and has gained 5,200 jobs over the last 12 months.
Norwich-New London-Westerly added 500 jobs last month.
New Haven lost 3,400 jobs for the month and 1,900 jobs were lost in Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk.