Connecticut's employers added 4,100 new jobs in May as the state's private sector reached a key post-recession milestone.

"This is welcome news after two months of job losses," said CBIA economist Pete Gioia.

According to the state Department of Labor's monthly jobs report, gains were seen in most industry sectors including trade, transportation, and utilities (2,600), other services (1,000), education and health services (500), leisure and hospitality (500), and financial activities (400).

Manufacturing, which leads all sectors in percentage growth over the last 12 months, remained unchanged.

On the negative side, mining and construction lost 300 jobs, followed by professional and business services (200), information (200), and government (200).

"Manufacturing and financial activities are both up over the last 12 months, which is great, because they are both key drivers for the state's economy," Gioia said.

The report also revised April's loss downward for a total loss of 1,900.

Connecticut's unemployment rate remains unchanged at 4.5%, above the national average of 3.8%.

Private Sector Growth, Needs

Last month, the private sector grew by 4,300 jobs and has now gained back all jobs lost (102%) in the recession.

Overall, the state has recovered 81% of total jobs lost during the 2008-2010 economic downturn.

Year-over-year, the private sector has now added 11,500 jobs, a good start for 2018.

The private sector is starting to grow at a moderate rate. We just need more consistency month to month.
— CBIA economist Pete Gioia
"We're starting to see year-over-year trends for the state that are more positive, and that's very important," Gioia said.

"The private sector is starting to grow at a moderate rate. We just need more consistency month to month."

Shrinking Labor Force

The state's labor force has declined 24,400 over the last 12 months.

"The biggest concern is that the state's labor force shrank again this month," said Gioia. 

"We have so many good, well-paying jobs available and we need a labor force to fill those jobs as rapidly as possible."

Strong manufacturing growth and the growing need for skilled workers, including UTC's announcement that they plan to hire 9,000 in Connecticut by 2022, puts even more pressure on the shrinking labor force.

Five of the state's six labor market areas saw job increases, while the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk labor market area remained unchanged.

"To see broad, statewide growth like this is really positive," said Gioia.

Hartford added 900 new jobs, followed by New Haven (700), Norwich-New London-Westerly (600), Danbury (200), and Waterbury (100).