Connecticut employers added 5,600 jobs last month, the 11th consecutive month of growth, with manufacturing posting its largest monthly gain since May 2020.

October's initially reported 5,300 gain was also revised higher by 1,800 jobs to 7,100 in the November employment report, released today the Connecticut Department of Labor.

New England Year-to-Date Job Growth

The critical manufacturing sector led all industries in November, adding 1,700 jobs and bringing the sector's year-to-date gains to 3,200 positions (2%).

Connecticut has now recovered 75% of the historic 292,400 jobs lost in March and April of last year to pandemic shutdowns and restrictions.

New Hampshire has recovered 80% of its COVID job losses, followed by Massachusetts (78%), Maine (77%), Connecticut, Rhode Island (73%), and Vermont (73%). The U.S. recovery rate is 83%.

Connecticut's year-to-date job growth rate is 3.4%, tied with Vermont and the second slowest in the region after Maine. U.S. job growth through the 11 months to date is 4.3%.

“November’s jobs report is very encouraging, with positive news across a number of key data points,” CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima said.

“That drop in the unemployment rate, the fall in first time unemployment benefits claims, and the addition of 6,600 people to the labor market are noteworthy given the impact the labor shortage is having on our economic recovery.”

Unemployment Rate

The state's unemployment rate fell four-tenths of a point to 6% in November, but remains the highest of the New England states. The U.S. unemployment rate is 4.2%.

New Hampshire's 2.7% unemployment is the region's lowest, followed by Vermont (2.8%), Maine (4.9%), Rhode Island (5.1%), Massachusetts (5.3%), and Connecticut.

First-time unemployment claims fell 6.7% to 3,266 per week, down 236 from October, and in line with the pre-pandemic rate of 3,243 claims a week.

The state's labor force—the number of employed people plus the unemployed who are looking for work—increased by 6,600 in November, still down 20,500 this year and 5% (98,800) below pre-pandemic levels.

DiPentima said the unemployment and labor force data reflects "underlying structural issues that were impacting the state’s jobs market and economy prior to the pandemic."

“There are 72,000 fewer people working in Connecticut today than in February 2020, despite an estimated 70,000 unfilled job openings,” he said.

“We will continue to push for comprehensive solutions to those challenges now and during the upcoming legislative session.” 

Industry Sectors

Nine of the state's major industry sectors posted gains in November, led by the critical manufacturing sector, which has now recovered 56% of the 12,700 COVID job losses. 

"From speaking with manufacturers across the state, we know they are feeling the brunt of the labor shortage, an issue that’s compounded by supply chain bottlenecks and inflation," DiPentima said.

Construction and mining added 1,200 (2%), followed by government (1,200; 0.5%), professional and business services (1,000; 0.5%), leisure and hospitality (700; 0.5%), other services (300; 0.5%), educational and health services (300; 0.1%), information (200; 0.7%), and trade, transportation, and utilities (100; 0.3%).

Financial activities, another critical component of the state's economy, was the only sector that lost jobs, wiping out the 1,100 jobs it gained the previous month.

Information and financial activities are the only sectors where employment remains below pre-pandemic levels.

Four of Connecticut’s major labor market areas saw gains in November, led by New Haven with 1,900 new jobs (0.7%).

Waterbury added 500 jobs (0.8%,) followed by Norwich-New London-Westerly (200; 0.2%), and Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk (100; 0%).

Employment in Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford declined 0.1% (-300) and Danbury lost 100 jobs (-0.1%).