March Brings Job Growth As Labor Force Gap Widens
Connecticut finished the first quarter with a third consecutive month of job growth, adding 4,600 positions in March and 6,900 for the year to date.
The state has now recovered 81% of the 289,400 jobs lost two years ago to pandemic-related shutdowns and restrictions.
By the Numbers: Connecticut’s Labor Market
|State||2022 YTD Job Growth||Job Openings (Jan. 2022)||Monthly Change (%)||Labor Force Change (since Feb. 2020)||Unemployment (March 2022)|
|United States||1.1%||11.3 million||-1.6%||-0.1%||3.6%|
That’s the second slowest recovery rate in the region after Vermont, while the U.S. has recovered 93% of all COVID-19 job losses.
Maine leads the region at 99%, followed by New Hampshire (92%), Massachusetts (87%), Rhode Island (85%), Connecticut, and Vermont (76%).
At 0.4%, Connecticut’s year-to-date job growth is also the slowest of the New England states, with U.S. job growth through the first three months of 2022 at 1.1%.
Maine’s 2022 job growth is the region’s strongest at 1.8%, followed by Massachusetts (1.5%), New Hampshire (1.1%), Rhode Island (0.8%), Vermont (0.6%), and Connecticut.
“Our recovery will continue to trail the region and country if lawmakers do not address key issues such as higher unemployment taxes and the overwhelming number of proposed labor mandates that only make it harder to do business here,” CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima said.
“A third month of strong job growth is great to see and if we want it to continue, lawmakers must use the last few weeks of this legislative session to enact policies—like those proposed in our policy priorities—that combat the labor shortage and help businesses grow in Connecticut.
Unemployment, Labor Force
Connecticut’s unemployment rate fell three-tenths of a point to 4.6% in March and remains the region’s highest and a point above the national rate.
New Hampshire has the lowest jobless rate in the region at 2.5%, followed by Vermont (2.7%), Rhode Island (3.4%), Maine (3.6%), Massachusetts (4.3%), and Connecticut.
First-time unemployment claims fell to 2,275 per week, down 562 (19.8%) from February 2022, and a new all-time low going back to 1980, when the data series began.
The April 14 release of the March employment numbers also showed the state’s labor force grew by 10,300.
However, the 71,400-person decline from February 2020 represents a staggering 41% of the national decline, despite Connecticut having only 1% of the population.
“We have 117,000 job openings in Connecticut,” DiPentima said, “and if every unemployed person found a job tomorrow, we’d still have 30,800 unfilled positions. That’s an issue that cannot be ignored.
“Employers are doing their part to fill jobs and navigate the labor shortage, inflation, and supply chain bottlenecks and they need the same focus and commitment from policymakers.
“Private-public sector collaboration to develop the best solutions is critical to overcoming Connecticut’s workforce crisis.”
Employment grew in seven of the state’s 10 main industry sectors in March, led by professional and business services, which added 2,900 jobs (1.4%).
Construction and mining gained 1,300 jobs (2.1%), followed by trade, transportation, and utilities (900; 0.3%), leisure and hospitality (500; 0.3%), manufacturing (300; 0.2%), education and health services (200; 0.1%), and other services (100; 0.2%)
Government, which includes employment at the state’s two casinos, led all declining sectors, losing 900 jobs last month (-0.4%).
Financial activities lost 600 jobs (-0.5%), followed by information (-100; -0.3%).
Four of Connecticut’s six major labor markets posted gains, led by Hartford with 2,300 jobs (0.4%).
New Haven gained 1,300 positions (0.4%), followed by Norwich-New London-Westerly (200; 0.2%) and Danbury (100; 0.1%).
The Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk region lost 1,200 jobs (-0.3%) while Waterbury remained unchanged.
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