Connecticut's leisure and hospitality, education and health services, and trade, transportation, and utilities sectors bore the brunt of early coronavirus job losses.

The state's March employment report was released today with a grim disclaimer from the Department of Labor that the numbers "do not reflect the reality of recent COVID-19 related impacts."

The surveys that feed the report use data from the first two weeks of March, before nonessential businesses were closed and stay at home orders issued.

DOL officials said today the April employment report—due May 21—will paint a more accurate picture of the pandemic's impact.

"The [U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics] survey data, based on the week containing the 12th of the month, did not capture the dramatic events precipitated by the COVID-19 virus," DOL research director Andy Condon said.

"We know from unemployment insurance claims that the leisure and hospitality, healthcare, and retail sectors were severely impacted by furloughs and closures."

Unemployment Claims

More than the 339,000 unemployment compensation claims were filed in Connecticut between March 13 and April 13.

Connecticut lost about 120,000 jobs during the 2008-2010 recession and had yet to recover all those positions prior to the pandemic hitting the state.

Based on the BLS survey, Connecticut lost 7,600 net jobs last month, or 0.4%, with the private sector losing 6,500 positions (0.5%).

The government sector, which includes employment at the state's now shuttered tribal casinos, lost 1,100 jobs.

Rhode Island employment fell 1.1% from February to March, Vermont dropped 0.9%, New Hampshire declined 0.7%, and Massachusetts and Maine both fell 0.5%.

Nationally, 701,000 positions were lost (0.5%) in March.


Connecticut's bars and restaurants were reduced to takeout and delivery service March 16, with gyms, fitness centers, and movie theaters shut down the same day and schools on March 17.

Leisure and hospitality was the hardest hit of any of the state's major industry sectors last month, losing 5,600 jobs (3.5%).

Education and health services shed 2,400 positions (0.7%) and trade, transportation, and utilities lost 1,200 jobs (0.4%).

The government sector saw 1,100 jobs lost (0.5%), followed by financial activities with 900 losses (0.7%), other services (-200; 0.3%), and information (-100; 0.3%).

Leisure and hospitality was the hardest hit sector, losing 5,600 jobs.

Three sectors added positions last month, led by professional and business services with a 2,700 jobs gain (1.2%).

Manufacturing added 500 jobs (0.3%) and construction gained 700 positions.

All of the state's six main labor market areas posted declines last month, led by Greater Hartford with 3,100 lost jobs (0.5%).

Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk fell 2,300 positions (0.6%), followed by New Haven (-1,200; 0.4%), Danbury (-800; 1%), Waterbury (-600; 0.9%), and Norwich-New London-Westerly.