First the good news from today's release of the monthly jobs report: after two months of losses, Connecticut added 1,400 positions in May.
Now some not-so-good news. The state Department of Labor says the unemployment rate rose slightly, from 7.7 percent to 7.8 percent, still below the national average of 8.2 percent.
And the same report revised April's gloomy numbers downward again. Instead of losing 4,100 jobs in April, as originally reported, the agency now reports a decline of 4,700 for that month.
The labor agency found positive news in its analysis of the May numbers, saying the expansion in the labor force "may signal jobseekers are reentering the labor market, sensing better employment prospects."
"A resumption of more typical seasonal patterns now will hopefully give us a clearer picture going forward on job growth and unemployment in the state,” said Andy Condon, the agency’s research director.
“Growth in the civilian labor force, if it continues, is a sign that more people are actively searching for work and is significant since the labor force had declined four months in a row.”
CBIA economist Peter Gioia called the addition of 1,400 jobs good news. Nonetheless, he cautions that Connecticut's economic recovery remains "painfully slow," having restored less than one-third of jobs lost during the recession.
"We're still 82,000 jobs behind where we were in March 2008," he said today. "And at this rate, we have a long, long way to go to get to where we need to be in terms of job growth in Connecticut."
The state added 6,100 jobs through the first five months of the year, although no clear pattern has emerged. We added jobs in January and February and shed them in March and April. In contrast, 7,700 positions were added from January through May last year.
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said the change in the unemployment rate was not a surprise, given more poeple are trying to enter the workforce.
"As I’ve said all along, changing an economy that failed to grow jobs in a meaningful way for a generation won’t happen overnight," he said in a statement.
"But I am committed to seeing this through...While it’s clear we have a lot more work to do, it’s also clear we’re in the process of turning this thing around.”
Education/health services and government led all sectors in May, each adding 1,600 jobs. Construction and mining gained 700 positions, followed by manufacturing (600) and financial activities (100).
Professional and business services lost 1,600 jobs. Other services shed 1,200 positions and trade, transportation, and utilities lost 500 jobs.
Connecticut has recovered 34,900, or 29.7 percent, of the 117,500 jobs lost in the March 2008-February 2010 recession.