The Connecticut Department of Labor's monthly jobs report showed a gain of only 800 jobs in February, a modest increase compared with the loss of nearly 11,000 jobs the previous month.

"It's a relatively small number," said Joe Brennan, CBIA's senior vice president of public policy.

"Looking deeper into the numbers, we did see a gain of 2,700 jobs in the private sector," he added, which helped offset losses in public sector jobs.

The department also revised down its January numbers, which originally showed a loss of 10,400 jobs, to a loss of 10,900 positions for that month.

Unemployment falls

Brennan noted the state's unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of a percentage point to 7% (down from 7.9% a year ago). The national unemployment rate for February was 6.7%.

"There are still some troubling trends in Connecticut," he said. "Importantly, in the manufacturing sector--critical to Connecticut's economy--we saw a loss of almost 2,000 jobs in February.

"Connecticut has only recovered about 50% of the jobs lost during the last recession, so while we did see some progress in February, we still have a long way to go on the job front."

National rank

Connecticut ranks 44th nationally in job growth over the 12 months through January 2014, (see figure above) according to a study released by Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business.

The state's workforce grew by just 0.5% in those 12 months, down from a 0.74% growth rate over the previous period, when Connecticut ranked 43rd out of the 50 states. The national average was 1.77%.

Of the New England states, only New Jersey, with 0.11% growth, ranks lower than Connecticut. Massachusetts was ranked 21st and led the region with 1.54% growth, followed by Maine (1.35%), Rhode Island (1.32%), New York (1.32%), Vermont (1.29%), and New Hampshire (0.83%).

Nevada grew its workforce by 3.54% to lead the nation through January 2014, followed by North Dakota (3.41%), Oregon (3.08%), Texas (3.04%), and Colorado (3.03%).

Industry sectors, labor markets

For February, professional and business services led all sectors in Connecticut, adding 3,000 jobs after shedding 2,600 positions the previous month.

Construction and mining gained 1,500 positions, followed by other services (600), leisure and hospitality (600), and information (100).

Manufacturing and government each lost 1,900 positions to lead the losing sectors. Financial activities shed 500 jobs, followed by education and health services (-400), and trade, transportation, and utilities (-300).

Three of the state's six labor market areas posted gains in February, with New Haven adding 2,000 jobs for the month. Danbury gained 400 jobs, Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk added 300, and Norwich-New London was unchanged.

Hartford showed a sharp decline for February, losing 5,000 jobs, while Waterbury lost 400 positions.

Filed Under: Connecticut Economy, Jobs Report

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