January Jobs Report: More Questions Than Answers
January’s jobs report raises more questions than answers about Connecticut’s employment picture, with the state losing 10,400 jobs for the month while the unemployment rate fell to 7.2%.
“The report is a really a contrasting study of dueling surveys,” said CBIA economist Pete Gioia.
“On the one hand, we have a decline of 10,400 jobs. On the other hand, the household survey showed a decline of two-tenths of a point in the unemployment rate down to 7.2%–at a time when we actually saw an increase in labor participation rates.
“We have two surveys in the same month telling us that the job market is going in different directions. So we really have, perhaps, more questions raised than answered.”
January marked the sixth consecutive monthly decline in the state’s unemployment rate. The national unemployment rate is 6.6%.
Best Gains in Seven Years
The Department of Labor report showed the state finished 2013 with a gain of 18,400 jobs, the best year since 2006 when we gained 23,300 positions.
January’s performance erodes much of those gains, with year-over-year growth now registering just 3,900 jobs. The state has recovered just under half the 119,100 jobs lost during the 2008-2010 recession.
The private sector added 9,500 jobs, or 0.7%, over the last 12 months. The public sector, which includes casino employment, lost 5,600 jobs (-2.3%) over the same period.
“Newly benchmarked employment statistics reaffirm the consistent job growth in the state that brought down the unemployment rate in 2013,” said Andy Condon, the department’s research director.
“However, the steep decline in January payroll jobs remains a concern. If, as we suspect, January’s decline was largely due to weather conditions we should see growth trends return in future months.”
For January, just two of the state’s industry sectors added jobs, with manufacturing reversing a pattern of declines by adding 1,300 positions, and education and health services reporting a 200-job gain.
Trade, transportation, and utilities led the declining sectors, shedding 3,200 positions, followed by leisure and hospitality and professional and business services, both of which lost 2,900 jobs.
Financial activities saw a loss of 1,800 positions, followed by government (-700), other services (-200), information (-100), and construction and mining (-100).
All six of the state’s labor market areas posted losses, led by New Haven, with 2,000 lost jobs.
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk shed 1,300 positions, followed by Danbury (-1,000), Waterbury (-900), Norwich-New London (-800), and Hartford (-200).
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