What's happening with Connecticut's job market?

Within less than two weeks, we've been handed a pair of disappointing job reports.

Post-recession jobs growth in New EnglandFirst, the final 2018 numbers were revised down nearly 50% from the initial forecast of 19,900 new jobs to a modest 10,000 gain.

And today's release of the February employment report reveals a terrible start to 2019, with January's initially reported 1,000 job gain revised down to a 2,500 job loss, with a further 400 positions lost last month.

CBIA president and CEO Joe Brennan said that pair of troubling reports should sound an urgent call to state lawmakers, with the 2,900 lost jobs since December all in the private sector.

"We've had some very troubling job numbers over the last two weeks," Brennan said.

"These numbers confirm that Connecticut is still mired in low economic growth and job creation, well below the national average and much of the New England region."

Post-Recession Recovery

Nine years after the end of the 2008-2010 recession, Connecticut is one of just a handful of states in the country yet to recover all jobs lost in economic downturn.

The national average is 244%, with most states reaching the expansion point years ago. All New England states except Connecticut are in growth mode, led by Massachusetts at 370%.

"Lawmakers should be alarmed by the fact that the national economy is growing and Connecticut has only gained back 80% of the jobs lost in the last recession, and they need to act accordingly," Brennan said.

There are so many agendas that call for higher costs, more mandates, and more regulatory burdens. All of them exacerbate the problem.
— CBIA's Joe Brennan
Brennan warned that the legislature's current focus on workplace mandates, increasing the size and cost of government, and additional red tape was the wrong prescription for the state's economy.

"There are so many agendas right now that call for higher costs, for more mandates, and more regulatory burdens," he said.

"All of these proposals will only exacerbate the job growth problem.

"Legislators must focus on what they can do to grow our economy and not further slow it down."

Industry Sectors, Labor Markets

Employment levels shrank in half the state's 10 major industry sectors in the first two months of the year, with the trade, transportation, and utilities sector the worst affected, losing 2,000 jobs.

Professional and business services dropped 1,900 positions, followed by educational and health services (-700), financial activities (-500), and other services (-300).

Government employment levels are unchanged since December.

Four of the state's main labor market areas lost jobs in the first two months of the year, led by Hartford, which contracted by 4,900 positions.

Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk and Waterbury both lost 300 jobs, Norwich-New London-Westerly declined 200, and Danbury was unchanged.

New Haven gained 600 jobs in the first two months of the year.