Big gains in the construction and leisure and hospitality sectors saw Connecticut employers add 2,600 jobs in February as the state continued its strong start to 2018.

The state Department of Labor's monthly employment report also added another 400 jobs to January's previously reported gains, bringing the year-to-date job growth to 6,400.

February jobs report
Connecticut's post-recession jobs growth is the weakest of the six New England states.

CBIA economist Pete Gioia welcomed the news, while cautioning that Connecticut has seen a pattern of early job gains followed by later weakening over the past several years.

"This is another positive report, and it's great to start the year with two months of growth,” Gioia said today.

"Now we need to make sure that we maintain this momentum, and be watchful of the factors that can erode job growth.

"The most glaring example is business confidence in things like the state budget, and since we find ourselves in another deficit, it's critical that lawmakers create an environment where businesses feel confident to invest and create even more jobs."

Post-Recession Struggles

Connecticut has recovered just 82% of the 119,100 jobs lost during the 2008-2010 recession, the slowest growth rate of the six New England states.

Eight years after the end of the recession, the state is one of a just a handful in the country yet to reach post-recession expansion.

The state's private sector has now recovered 102% of the 111,700 jobs lost in the economic downturn.

The unemployment rate also rose one-tenth of a point to 4.6%, the highest in the region and a half-point higher than the national average.

We need to maintain this momentum, and be watchful of the factors that can erode job growth.
— CBIA economist Pete Gioia
Six of the state's 10 industry sectors posted gains in February, with construction and mining adding 1,500 positions.

Leisure and hospitality gained 1,100 jobs, followed by financial activities (700); education and health services (300); other services (100); and government (100).

Trade, transportation, and utilities was unchanged for the month.

Labor Market Areas

Professional and business services lost 1,000 jobs while the manufacturing and information sectors each lost 100 jobs.

“Over the year, these sectors [professional and business services and manufacturing] are considerably up," Gioia said.

"We've actually added 5,500 manufacturing jobs year-over-year."

Four of the state's six labor market areas saw gains in February, led by New Haven with 1,500 new jobs.

Bridgeport–Stamford–Norwalk added 1,400 jobs, followed by Norwich–New London–Westerly (600), and Danbury (300 positions).

Waterbury was unchanged for the month while Hartford lost 1,500 jobs.