Connecticut workers rank the state's job creation climate the worst in the country according to a Gallup survey published this week.
Gallup's 2014 Job Creation Index found that just 33% of Connecticut workers reported employers were hiring, while 43% said hiring was unchanged and 17% said companies were letting people go.
That contrasts with North Dakota, which topped the 2014 index, where 48% said employers were hiring and just 12% reported layoffs.
Based on preliminary data from the state Department of Labor, Connecticut finished 2014 with a net gain of 26,700 jobs, the best year for job growth since the recession ended in 2010.
However, the state's economic recovery continues to lag the region and the country.
Connecticut has regained 81% of jobs lost during the recession, while the U.S. average is 120%. And our 6.4% unemployment rate contrasts starkly with the national rate of 5.6%.
While the state's economy has gained momentum over the last 12 months, our relative performance and the Gallup findings clearly highlight the uncertain nature of the recovery.
"The biggest downside risk remains public policy," says CBIA economist Pete Gioia.
"State and national policymakers need to make the right choices to support economic growth and jobs.
"If they do, we’ll continue to do well. If not, then that’s the big risk."
Gallup's annual index is unique in that it gathers data directly from workers.
For 2014, Gallup interviewed more than 200,000 part-time and full-time employees from around the country over the course of the year.
Connecticut has never fared well in Gallup's index, languishing in the bottom tier of states every year since it was first published it in 2008.
Alaska, New Mexico, West Virginia, Maine, New Jersey, Mississippi, Kentucky, Vermont, and Rhode Island all finished in the bottom tier of states.
Massachusetts performed the best of the New England states, ranking 20th nationally. Workers in that state reported 39% of employers were hiring, 44% were unchanged, and 12% were laying people off.
Texas, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Utah, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Delaware rounded out the top 10 states.
Michigan's number five ranking represents one of the biggest turnarounds in job creation for any state in the seven years Gallup has published the index.
That state was one of the worst performers in 2008 and 2009 and has now ranked in the top 10 for the last two years.
Delaware also turned its job creation efforts around, rebounding from bottom 10 rankings in 2008 and 2009 to top tier status the last two years.
Business climate connection
There are telling correlations between the Gallup Index and CNBC's America's Top States for Business study, which ranks state business climates.
Of the 10 states ranked in the bottom tier of Gallup's Job Creation Index, seven--Connecticut, Alaska, West Virginia, Maine, New Jersey, Vermont, and Rhode Island--also rank in the bottom 10 of CNBC's latest annual study.
The other three fall just outside the bottom 10: Kentucky is 39th in CNBC's study; Mississippi is 36th; and New Mexico is 37th.
Four of the top 10 states for job creation--North Dakota, Texas, Nebraska, and Utah--are ranked in the top tier by CNBC, while South Dakota, Iowa, and Wisconsin are in the top 20. CNBC ranks Michigan 26th, Oklahoma 28th, and Delaware 38th.