Job Growth Numbers Fail to Match Early Projections
Based on initial projections, 2018 was tracking to be Connecticut’s best year for job growth since 2006.
However, the annual benchmark revisions released today by the state Department of Labor tell a much different—and disappointing—story.
Today’s report is a sobering reminder that Connecticut’s economy continues to struggle just to recover from the 2008-2010 recession—let alone keep pace with the rest of the region and country.
“The benchmark revisions, based on actual payroll jobs, show that we ended 2018 a lot different than we thought we would,” CBIA economic adviser Pete Gioia said today.
“The year-over-year numbers predicted an overall jobs gain of 19,900, but that figure was revised down nearly 50% to 10,000.
“If you look at the private sector alone, that number is even more sobering. Our earlier gain of 23,100 jobs was revised down to 9,700.”
Gioia called Connecticut’s 0.6% growth rate for 2018 “weak,” particularly when compared with the U.S. job growth rate at 1.8%.
“While that’s certainly better than the anemic growth we saw in 2016 and 2017, it’s well off the post-recession high of 1.1% in 2014,” he said.
Connecticut has now recovered just 84% of all jobs lost in the recession, one of just a few states yet to reach full recovery.
The state’s private sector began expanding last year and has recovered 103% of job losses.
Gioia said the labor department’s preliminary report for January showed 1,000 jobs were added for the month, which he called “a promising start.”
“However, we are not going to sustain any type of job growth if the legislature focuses more on new mandates and costs on businesses, rather than making them more competitive,” he said.
“We need to create a state where businesses are growing and investing, and it needs to be lawmakers’ top priority.”
Industry Sectors, Labor Markets
Six of the state’s major industry areas added jobs in 2018, led by the 3,500 new jobs in each of the construction (6%) and leisure and hospitality (2.2%) sectors.
Educational and health services added 3,300 jobs (1%), followed by information (1,300; 4%), manufacturing (600; 0.4%), and financial activities (200; 0.1%).
Trade, transportation, and utilities lost 1,500 jobs (-0.5%) last year, the worst of any sector.
Other services (-0.9%) and professional and business services (-0.3%) each shed 600 positions, while the government sector was unchanged.
Four of the state’s six labor market areas saw job gains last year, led by Hartford with 7,800 new positions or 1.3% growth.
New Haven added 3,400 jobs (1.2%), followed by Bridgeport-Norwalk-Stamford (3,100; 0.8%), and Waterbury (1,400; 2%).
Norwich-New London lost 400 jobs (-0.3%) and Danbury declined by 100 (-0.1%).
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