Connecticut's resurgent manufacturing sector posted annual job gains for just the fourth time in three decades in 2017, lifting overall growth as most other sectors posted losses.

The state Department of Labor's annual benchmark revisions show manufacturers added 6,300 positions last year, the sector's largest gain in over 30 years.

2017 job growth
Connecticut's overall 2017 job growth was the slowest of any of the New England states.

That represents 4% annual growth—an absolute contrast with the state's overall jobs picture for 2017, which saw 5,300 net new jobs, or just 0.3% growth.

The labor department also released preliminary numbers for January, with employers adding 3,400 jobs during that month. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.5%.

CBIA economist Pete Gioia said Connecticut's overall job growth was the slowest of any of the New England states.

"2017 is significantly improved from 2016, when we lost 200 jobs," Gioia said.

"We're seeing momentum. We still need improvement, but we're going in the right direction."

Private Sector Milestone

Connecticut's private sector added 7,200 jobs last year and has now recovered all jobs lost during the 2008-2010 recession.

"We are concerned that the legislature's heavy focus this year on new workplace mandates and other business costs will hurt that momentum by making companies less competitive," Gioia said.

The legislature's heavy focus on new workplace mandates and other business costs will hurt that momentum by making companies less competitive.
— CBIA economist Pete Gioia
Overall, Connecticut has regained 80% of the 119,100 jobs lost in the economic downturn and is one of just a handful of states yet to reach full recovery.

The labor force also lost 7,600 people in 2017, which Gioia said was concerning as it indicates more people leaving the state or giving up looking for a job.

Industry Sectors, Labor Markets

Four of the state's 10 major industry sectors posted job gains in 2017, led by manufacturing.

Educational and health services expanded by 3,600 positions, followed by trade, transportation, and utilities (1,900) and professional and business services (800).

Government fared the worst of the six losing sectors, shedding 2,900 jobs over the year.

Information shrank by 1,200 jobs, followed by leisure and hospitality (-1,100), construction (-1,000), financial activities (-800), and other services (-200).

Three of the state's six major labor market areas saw growth in 2017, led by Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, which added 6,300 jobs.

Norwich-New London-Westerly gained 1,100 net new jobs and Danbury added 300 positions.

Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk lost 2,700 jobs last year, while New Haven shed 2,200 positions and Waterbury lost 200 jobs.