Summer Hiring Drives May Job Gains; Labor Force Declines Again


Connecticut added 5,000 jobs in May, led by large seasonal gains in the leisure and hospitality sector.

The Connecticut Department of Labor’s monthly employment report also revised April’s initially reported 900-job loss to a gain of 2,100 positions.

Connecticut has added 24,900 jobs over the last 12 months, a 1.5% growth rate that is 39th best in the country. The U.S. growth rate for the same period is 2.7%.

“The May employment report is encouraging news for the state’s economy,” CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima said.

“With April’s previously reported loss of 900 jobs revised to an increase of 1,200, job growth is again moving in a positive direction.”

Labor Force Declines

The May job gains were tempered by a fifth consecutive month of labor force declines, with 12-month losses now at 45,800 (-2.3%).

“We cannot overlook the challenges with the state’s labor force, which is now the lowest it’s been since September 2021—down 16,700 in 2023 alone,” DiPentima said.

“With 104,000 openings, it’s clear that the jobs are there—we need more people to join the workforce and fill those jobs.”

Connecticut's Labor Force, February 2020-May 2023
Connecticut’s labor force declined by 45,800 people in the last 12 months.

DiPentima noted Connecticut’s 2% voluntary quits rate was fourth best in the country and the 64.2% labor participation rate put the state in the top 20.

“However, our hiring rate is just 3.6%, the seventh lowest among all states,” he said.

“It’s an ongoing concern that requires a commitment to enacting policies that will make Connecticut a more affordable and attractive place to live and work.

“We encourage our policymakers to continue to listen to their constituents about finding solutions to solve Connecticut’s workforce crisis.”

COVID Recovery

Massachusetts’ year-over-year job growth rate is 2.9%, the best of the New England states and two-tenths of a point better than the national average.

New Hampshire’s 12-month growth rate is 2.6%, followed by Vermont (1.5%), Connecticut, Maine (1.4%), and Rhode Island (-0.4%).

Connecticut has recovered 98% of the historic 289,100 jobs lost in March and April of 2020 to pandemic shutdowns and restrictions.

12-Month Job Growth, May 2023
Connecticut’s year-over-year job growth ranks 39th in the country.

New Hampshire has the region’s highest recovery rate at 110%, followed by Maine (108%), Massachusetts (103%), Connecticut, Vermont (89%), and Rhode Island (88%). The U.S. average is 117%.

Connecticut’s unemployment rate fell one-tenth of point in May to 3.7%, the highest of the New England states and 12th highest in the country.

New Hampshire’s unemployment is the region’s lowest at 1.9%, followed by Maine (2.4%), Vermont (2.1%), Massachusetts (2.8%), Rhode Island (3%), and Connecticut. U.S. unemployment is 3.7%.

Industry Sectors, Labor Markets

Eight of Connecticut’s 10 major industry sectors added jobs in May, with leisure and hospitality accounting for more than half the total net employment gains (2,600; 1.7%).

Trade, transportation, and utilities added 1,700 jobs (0.6%), followed by other services (1,100; 1.8%), information (400; 1.3%), manufacturing (200; 0.1%), government (200; 0.1%), financial activities (100; 0.1%), and professional and business services (100; 0.04%).

The educational and health services sector posted the biggest losses, shedding 1,200 jobs (-0.3%) in May.

Connecticut COVID-19 Jobs Recovery, May 2023
Four of Connecticut’s 10 main industry sectors have recovered all COVID job losses.

Construction lost 200 jobs (-0.3%) last month to fall below the full COVID recovery mark for the first time since June 2021.

All of the state’s six major labor market areas saw gains in May, led by Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, which added 1,700 jobs (0.3%).

Employment in the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk market increased by 1,200 (0.3%), followed by Norwich-New London-Westerly (1,100; 0.9%), New Haven (900; 0.3%), Danbury (400; 0.5%), and Waterbury (200; 0.3%).


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