State’s Policy Choices Cloud Jobs Outlook
Connecticut lost 1,500 net jobs in May—1,600 in the private sector—bringing year-to-date losses to 2,800 positions, or -0.2%.
That’s a troubling pattern for the year, one that stands in stark contrast with the region and most of the country.
In New Hampshire for instance, job growth for the year is a robust 0.7%.
Employment in Massachusetts rose 0.5%. Maine and Vermont grew 0.4% while Rhode Island increased 0.2%.
U.S. job growth is at 0.5% since January.
CBIA economic adviser Pete Gioia says Connecticut’s job losses highlight the growing challenges that are impeding economic competitiveness and growth.
He said Connecticut’s outlook is also complicated by the just-completed 2019 legislative session, which included a number of new laws hurting businesses’ ability to compete and grow.
Gioia said many of those laws, including paid family and medical leave and a near 50% increase in the minimum wage, “hit small businesses particularly hard.”
“We really have a disturbing situation,” Gioia said. “We’ve only recovered 80% of lost jobs in the 111 months since the recession ended.
“How do we get out of this when we have negative legislation for small businesses, particularly several workplace mandates, that could cost us jobs?”
Gioia called the session a challenging one for Connecticut small businesses—essential for job creation—saying it was “one the state can’t afford to repeat.”
“The most troubling thing is not just the lack of acknowledgement, but the apparent lack of interest in the job numbers from too many state legislators,” he said.
Connecticut is the only New England state and one of just a handful across the country yet to recover all jobs lost in the 2008-2010 recession.
While the private sector has recovered all lost jobs, that growth continues to lag the region and the country.
Massachusetts leads the region in post-recession private sector job growth, recovering 361% of lost jobs. The U.S. recovery rate is 248%.
Sectors, Labor Markets
Half the state’s major industry sectors added jobs in May, led by leisure and hospitality, which gained 500 positions as seasonal hiring began.
Financial activities grew by 300 jobs, followed by professional and business services (200), education and health services (100), and government (100).
The information sector was unchanged for the month.
Trade, transportation, and utilities lost 1,400 jobs in May and has declined by 2,000 positions since the beginning of the year.
Construction and mining fell by 900 jobs, followed by other services (-300) and manufacturing (-100).
Four of the state’s main labor market areas posted gains last month, led by Hartford with 2,400 jobs.
Norwich-New London-Westerly added 500 jobs while Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk and Danbury gained 100.
Waterbury was unchanged and New Haven lost 200 jobs.
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