Connecticut employers added jobs for a second straight month in July, but the overall growth rate remains a concern as the state continues to trail the region and the country.
In the six-plus years since the recession ended in 2010, the state has recovered just 83% of the 119,100 jobs lost during the economic downturn.
Maine is the only other New England state yet to recover all lost jobs.
Massachusetts, which has added 122,800 jobs—an astounding 295% of those lost—since the recession ended, leads the region.
Nationally, the average recovery rate is 172%.
The state Department of Labor reported 1,700 new jobs for July, or 0.1% growth. June's initially reported 7,900 gain was revised down to 5,800 jobs.
Connecticut's unemployment rate fell for the first time in almost a year, declining one-tenth of a point to 5.7%, the highest in New England.
The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.9% in July.
Lack of Strength
CBIA economist Pete Gioia said through July, Connecticut added jobs at a 1.2% pace over the last 12 months.
If employers maintain that rate, the state would hit the 100% milestone late next summer—almost seven-and-a-half years after the end of the recession.
“While it’s good news that we’re still adding jobs, our recovery’s lack of strength when compared to a neighboring state like Massachusetts is important,” Gioia said.
At the current rate, the state would hit the 100% milestone late next summer—almost seven-and-a-half years after the end of the recession.
“It really points to a sharp need for Connecticut to become more competitive regionally as well as nationally," he said.
“To do that, the state must have policies in place that encourage business investment and create job opportunities.”
Five of the state's 10 industry sectors gained jobs in July, led by leisure and hospitality and trade, transportation, and utilities. Both sectors added 1,700 positions each.
Leisure and hospitality now leads all sectors over the last year, with a net gain of 3,900 jobs.
Professional and business services added 1,200 jobs for the month, followed by other services (400), and manufacturing (300).
Government, which includes the state's casinos, led all losing sectors, shedding 1,300 positions.
Education and health services lost 900 jobs, followed by construction and mining (-600); information (-400); and financial activities (-300).
The Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford labor market added 1,900 jobs in July, the best performance of any region in the state.
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk gained 700 positions while New Haven added 200 jobs. Norwich-New London-Westerly was unchanged.