Connecticut's private sector finished the year with its strongest job growth in two decades, an economist with the state’s largest business association said today.

"If you take a look at the year-over-year figures, we have some of the best numbers we’ve seen in a long while," said CBIA economic adviser Pete Gioia.

"The private sector's growth of 23,500 is the best number we've seen since 1998 when we gained 25,800 jobs."

Gioia said while the state's private sector has recovered 118% of jobs lost during the 2008-2010 recession, the rate of recovery trails the region and the nation. Overall, Connecticut has recovered 93% of the 119,100 jobs lost in the recession.

Gioia cautioned these are preliminary numbers that will be reviewed for final release in March, adding there have been significant downward revisions in recent years.

Gioia also noted other issues that could impact job growth in the state.

"On the national level, there are some headwinds," said Gioia.

"The tariff situation is still a concern, there's volatility in the markets, and the government shutdown may have an effect on many industries.

"More importantly, we're at the beginning of this legislative session, and lawmakers must do what they can to accelerate growth, not slow it down with bad policy decisions."

CBIA is Connecticut’s largest business organization, with thousands of member companies, small and large, representing a diverse range of industries from every part of the state. For more information, please email or call Meaghan MacDonald (860.244.1957).