Connecticut added a sizzling 11,500 jobs in July, finally propelling the state past the half-way mark to recovering the number of jobs lost in the recession.

In what the Department of Labor called a “new recovery highpoint in the state,” job gains were widespread throughout most of the major employment sectors and regions of state.

It marks the fifth straight month of job gains and the sixth overall in 2013.

This is a “very, very positive report,” said CBIA economist Pete Gioia, “Year over year, compared to 2012, we’ve added 23,100 net new jobs, and we’ve recovered 58% of the jobs lost during the recession.”  

Still, said Gioia, the state has “a long way to go to get to 100% recovery.” The state's unemployment rate essentially remained stuck at 8.1%, and average private-sector work hours and hourly earnings have declined slightly from June 2012. 

The DOL advised some caution on the report by saying that its estimates “can be volatile.” Even so, said Andy Condon, director of the Office of Research, “we are seeing substantial improvements over last year.”

July jobs highlights:

  • Seven of the 10 major employment sectors gained jobs, led by government (4,200), professional and business services (3,700). Also gaining were education and health services (2,500), trade, transportation and utilities (2,100), financial services (300), other services (200) and information (100)
  • Four of the six major labor market areas gained—paced by the greater Hartford area (3,900) and Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk (1,000). Also gaining were Danbury (600) and New Haven (100).
  • Connecticut has now recovered 70,100 positions, or 57.8% of the total nonfarm jobs lost in the recession.

Lagging

Employment sectors not joining in the summer fun were construction and mining (-1,100 jobs) manufacturing (-400 jobs), and, somewhat surprisingly, leisure and hospitality (-100).

The Waterbury and Norwich-New London regions also fell behind, with 800 and 200 jobs lost, respectively.

Turnaround ahead?

The unemployment rate uptick, said Gioia, was “largely due to more people coming into the labor force, perhaps looking for jobs.”

Despite the uptick, “if this rate of [job] growth continues,” said DOL’s Condon, “we should see improvements in the rate in the near future.”