Connecticut posted its best monthly jobs growth for the year in May, adding a net 7,800 positions with gains in several key industry sectors.

The state has now recovered 63% of the historic 292,400 jobs lost to COVID-19 restrictions and shutdowns in March and April last year, with 18,300 jobs added in the first five months of this year.

CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima said the strong monthly gains were a reflection of the state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout and growing confidence among workers and employers.

“That's the largest jobs growth since last October,” DiPentima said in response to the state Department of Labor's June 22 release of the May employment report.

“COVID-19 positivity rates and hospitalizations have continued to decline since the lifting of restrictions on May 19 and Connecticut continues to be a leader among states in rolling out the vaccine.

“That’s driving greater confidence among residents and employers."

Hiring Challenges

DiPentima said while employers continue to face challenges finding and recruiting workers, there are signs the labor market is recovering,

"Factors such as fears about contracting COVID, the lack of widely available childcare, and federal unemployment benefits, appear to be lessening their impact on job growth," he said. "That needs to continue for Connecticut to unlock its economic potential.

“The vaccination campaign, this month’s reinstatement of the work-search requirement for unemployment claimants, and people embracing the lifting of restrictions give me plenty of optimism that we will continue to see growth in the coming months.

"Vaccinations, the reinstatement of the work-search requirement, and people embracing the lifting of restrictions give me plenty of optimism."

CBIA's Chris DiPentima

“Not to mention the just completed legislative session, which certainly boosted business confidence in the state.”

Connecticut's unemployment rate fell four-tenths of a point in May to 7.7%, the highest in the region and almost two percentage points higher than the national average of 5.8%.

New Hampshire's unemployment rate is 2.5%, the lowest in the region, followed by Vermont (2.6%), Maine (4.7%), Rhode Island (5.8%), Massachusetts (6.1%), and Connecticut.

Industry Sectors

Private sector employers added 8,600 jobs (0.6%) last month, led by strong gains in educational and health services, which gained 5,300 positions (1.6%).

Professional and business services gained 2,200 jobs (1.1%), followed by leisure and hospitality (1,900; 1.5%), and manufacturing (700; 0.5%).

Six of the state's 10 industry sectors saw losses last month, led by government (which includes local, state, federal governments and casino employment), which lost 800 jobs (-0.4%).

Construction and mining lost 600 positions (-1%), followed by financial activities (-400; -0.3%), other services (-300; -0.5%); information (-100; -0.4%), and trade, transportation, and utilities (-100; -0.03%).

Four of the state's six major labor markets posted gains in May, led by New Haven, which gained 1,200 jobs (0.4%).

Danbury added 300 jobs (0.4%), as did Hartford (0.1%), while Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk gained 200 (0.1%).

Norwich–New London–Westerly was unchanged for the month while Waterbury lost 100 jobs (-0.2%).