What January gave, February took back. While the New Year brought reason to celebrate, today's release of the monthly jobs report restores Connecticut's economic headache.
The Connecticut Department of Labor says the state lost 5,700 jobs in February. That news follows the addition of 6,400 jobs (revised from the initial report of 4,700 jobs) the previous month.
And while the unemployment rate slipped one-tenth of a percentage point to 8%, it appears the state again has fallen off the national economic recovery pace.
Connecticut Business & Industry Association economist Pete Gioia called the report "disappointing," noting that job losses were spread across most sectors and labor market areas.
“It's very disappointing -- we really have a very negative report here,” Gioia said today. “It points to the real need for policymakers to do everything they can to help businesses grow jobs here.”
Over the past 12 months, Connecticut has added just 2,400 new positions -- a troubling number given economic activity in other parts of the country.
The state has recovered just 40% of the 121,000 jobs lost during the 2008-2010 recession.
Labor department officials blamed the poor monthly numbers on the February 8 storm that dumped as much as 40 inches of snow in parts of the state and shut down some cities for almost a week.
“Though our data can’t point at any specific regions or industry sectors that would confirm the winter storm hampered job growth in February, that result seems likely,” said Andy Condon, the agency's research director.
Just two major sectors added jobs in February -- government added 900 positions while manufacturing gained 400 jobs, the sector's third consecutive increase.
Professional and business services lost 2,400 jobs for the month, pulling back from a gain of 4,800 positions in January.
Education and health services dropped 2,300 jobs, followed by financial activities (-700), leisure and hospitality (-500), trade, transportation, and utilities (-300), information (-100), and construction (-100).
Danbury and Norwich-New London were the only labor market areas to add jobs in February; the former gained 300 jobs, the latter 100.
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford lost 2,500 positions and Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk shed 2,400 jobs. New Haven dropped 1,700 jobs and Waterbury lost 300.