Connecticut was the only New England state with no job growth in 2016, posting its worst year since the middle of the recession.

While that news was tempered by a bright start to 2017—the Department of Labor's preliminary report shows 5,700 new jobs for January—the 2016 numbers are sobering.

2016 New England Job GrowthCBIA economist Pete Gioia said today forecasters had predicted Connecticut would add a minimum of 12,000 jobs in 2016.

Instead, after a promising start—adding 6,100 jobs through the first three months to reach a post-recession high—Connecticut closed out 2016 with a net loss of 200 jobs.

That's the first year since 2009—the heart of the recession—that Connecticut has not posted employment gains.

“This is hugely disappointing,” Gioia said. “This shows that we still have a critical problem in the economy in terms of job creation.

“Part of that is meeting the demand for jobs that go begging and part of that is just getting the economy moving again.

“Policymakers at the Capitol should do everything they can to encourage companies to grow, expand, and add jobs here in the Connecticut.”

New England, U.S. Growth

Connecticut's unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a point to 4.5% in January, a full point lower than this time last year.

Massachusetts added 56,000 jobs in 2016, or 1.6%, while New Hampshire saw 1.8% growth. The United States posted 1.6% growth in 2016.

Through January, Connecticut has recovered just 75% of the 119,100 jobs lost during the 2008-2010 recession, the slowest growth of any New England state.

This is hugely disappointing. This shows we still have a critical problem in the economy.
— CBIA economist Pete Gioia
Massachusetts has recovered more than 300% of jobs lost in the recession, leading all New England states. The national recovery rate is 188%.

Connecticut's 2016 and January 2017 reports were released the same day as the national numbers for February.

“The news for January is quite positive and mirrors at long last what we’ve been seeing on the federal level,” Gioia said.

U.S. employers added 235,000 jobs last month, beating analysts' expectations by 24%. The national unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.7%.

Industry Sectors

Four of the state's 10 industry sectors added jobs in 2016, led by education and health services with 4,100 new positions.

Leisure and hospitality grew by 3,500 jobs, other services added 1,400, and financial activities finished the year with a gain of 100.

Government led all losing sectors, shedding 4,300 positions during 2016.

Professional and business services shrank by 2,300 positions, followed by construction (-1,200); information (-600); trade, transportation, and utilities (-600); and manufacturing (-300).

January's rebound was led by leisure and hospitality (3,100), followed by gains in professional and business services (1,900); trade, transportation, and utilities (1,700); financial activities (1,400); construction (700); and other services (200).

Four sectors declined in January, with education and health services shedding 2,800 jobs.

Information lost 400 jobs, followed by manufacturing (-200) and government (-200).