September Brings Jobs as Labor Force Declines
Connecticut added 4,400 jobs in September, marking nine straight months of growth, with strong gains in the leisure and hospitality, government, and construction sectors.
The Connecticut Department of Labor’s monthly report also revised August’s initially reported 2,900 jobs gain down to 2,400.
The state has recovered 89% of the 289,400 jobs lost in March and April of 2020 to pandemic shutdowns and restrictions. The U.S. is now in growth mode, with a 103% recovery rate.
Maine leads the New England states with a 99% recovery rate, followed by New Hampshire (97%), Massachusetts (92%), Rhode Island (91%), Connecticut, and Vermont (79%).
The unemployment rate fell one-tenth of a point to 4%, the highest of the New England states and 13th highest in the country.
Connecticut’s labor force—the number of employed plus those actively looking for work—declined by 1,800 people in September, reflecting the ongoing worker shortage crisis.
CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima called the September report a “positive trend for the state’s economy,” adding that the state must continue to build momentum.
“The jobs are there—114,000 open positions as of August,” DiPentima said. “What employers need are the workers to fill those jobs.
“Our labor force has declined by 47,100 people since February 2020, or 38% of the region’s losses—we have just two-thirds of the available labor pool needed to fill those open jobs.
“To put it another way: if every unemployed person was hired tomorrow, we’d still have 37,000 unfilled job openings.”
Voluntary Quits Rate Declines
DiPentima noted that U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released this week showed Connecticut’s voluntary quits rate and separations rate were tied for third lowest in the country.
“We’re seeing much greater stability in workplaces across the state, which just reinforces the urgency needed to address the labor shortage—the greatest threat to our economic recovery,” he said.
DiPentima urged policymakers to support CBIA’s Transform Connecticut policy recommendations, a package of solutions designed to address the labor shortage.
“We must lower Connecticut’s high costs of living and running a business, implement more pathways to rewarding careers, and open doors to opportunity for all communities and residents,” he said.
Massachusetts leads the region in year-to-date job growth at 2.6%, with the national average at 2.5%.
Rhode Island’s year-to-date job growth is 2.2%, followed by New Hampshire (2%), Connecticut (2%), Maine (1.8%), and Vermont (1.5%).
Industry Sectors, Labor Markets
Six of Connecticut’s major industry sectors posted job growth in September, led by leisure and hospitality with 2,000 new positions (1.3%).
The government sector gained 1,500 jobs (0.7%), followed by construction and mining (1,300; 2.1%), education and health services (700; 0.2%), other services (200; 0.3%), and trade, transportation, and utilities (200; 0.1%).
The information sector remained unchanged.
The financial activities sector lost 600 jobs (-0.5%), followed by professional and business services (-600; -0.3%) and manufacturing (-300; -0.2%).
Three of the state’s major labor markets posted gains, led by New Haven with 1,800 new positions (0.6%).
Danbury added 300 jobs (0.4%) and the Norwich-New London-Westerly region grew by 100 positions (0.1%).
The Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk region lost 2,600 jobs (-0.7%), followed by Waterbury (-800; -1.2%) and Hartford (-700; -0.1%).
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