Connecticut gained 5,800 jobs in May for the fourth consecutive monthly increase in employment, according to the state Department of Labor.

Today’s release of May employment figures from the DOL also revealed that job growth was widespread, with seven of the 10 major industry sectors increasing jobs—including 1,000 jobs added in manufacturing.

The state has now added 15,100 jobs year to date and has recovered 60% of the nonfarm jobs lost during the Great Recession. That’s encouraging news, but the nation as a whole has regained all of the jobs lost during the recession.

And while Connecticut’s unemployment rate remained at 6.9%, “there’s actually a positive reason for that,” said CBIA economist Pete Gioia.

“If you take a look at the labor force, we’ve seen a gain of 13,000 participants which means that more people are looking for work.  And because of that, you’ll have somewhat of an elevated unemployment rate.”

Connecticut’s 6.9% unemployment rate also still hovers above the national rate of 6.3%.

Spring Thaw

The DOL’s Andy Condon says that with May’s performance, Connecticut is retaking higher employment ground.

“Connecticut nonfarm job levels now exceed levels reached before the deep winter freeze set in during January and are now at a new recovery high,” he said.

“At this point, the resiliency of the recovery appears to be bringing people back into the labor force.”

Small Business Grades  

The good job news helped offset some discouraging words from a new small business survey revealing Connecticut has more work to do to create a warmer climate for jobs.

Responding to the “Small Business Friendliness Survey” conducted by and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Connecticut small businesses gave the state poor marks, especially for hiring and employment regulations.

"Creating a business climate that is welcoming to small, dynamic businesses is more important than ever, and Connecticut's small businesses do not think the state has been doing a good job," said Jon Lieber, chief economist of Thumbtack.

Creating that kind of climate is a big reason for the new CT20x17 campaign, which is focusing on three major challenges—costs, infrastructure and quality of life—to fostering a better environment for success for everyone in the state.

The CT20x17 campaign aims to solve those challenges and help move Connecticut into the Top 20 in all of the major national competitiveness rankings by 2017.