September Jobs Numbers: Volatility Continues

10.20.2011
Economy

At first blush, the September jobs report for Connecticut has an optimistic glow. The state’s unemployment rate dropped below nine percent for the first time in almost two years and we gained 3,400 jobs.
Scratch below the surface, and that glow quickly diminishes. September’s gains came from the government (3,500 new jobs) and leisure and hospitality sectors (2,400 jobs).
As for the government sector, most of those new jobs were in local government, with the Connecticut Department of Labor believing the gain was “due to an underestimation in the August job counts rather than actual growth in the sector.”
Two sectors, construction and manufacturing, took big hits. The former lost 1,600 jobs in September while manufacturing shed 1,000 jobs.
“Those losses in construction and manufacturing are certainly cause for concern,” said CBIA economist Pete Gioa.
“Manufacturing is at the core of Connecticut’s economic growth prospects and we cannot afford to see losses in that sector. Construction is an important sector that continues to get battered.”
The state’s unemployment rate now stands at 8.9 percent, below the national average of 9.1 percent. It was last below nine percent in November 2009.
Connecticut’s overall gains for the year (since January 1, 2011) are a humbling 2,000 net new jobs. By comparison, the state added 13,600 jobs in 2010.
Over the past 12 months, the state gained 10,400 new jobs, while some 91,000 pre-recession jobs have not been recovered.
The pattern over the first nine months of 2011 was extremely volatile. We saw big job gains in February, April, and June, interspersed with equally large losses in March, May, and August [see graph above.] “Recent trends indicate that job growth has slowed in 2011, particularly in the third quarter,” said Andy Condon, director of the DoL’s office of research.
“This slowdown in the recovery is a national phenomenon with Connecticut showing a slightly better performance in September than the U.S. economy as a whole.
“While we hope to build on September’s job gains, we don’t yet see that pattern emerging in the Connecticut labor market.”

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