Connecticut policymakers and candidates for governor and the legislature must focus on sustained job and economic growth, the state's largest business organization said today.

The state lost 1,200 jobs in July and continues to trail the region and the nation in job and economic growth.

"We take three steps forward, and then one step back," CBIA economic adviser Pete Gioia said today.

"There's no consistency or stability month-to-month with our jobs numbers and that's what we really need to see for long-term growth in the economy."

Nine-plus years after the 2008-2010 recession ended, Connecticut has recovered just 86% of all jobs lost.

That's the slowest of the New England states, with Connecticut one of just a handful of states yet to reach full recovery.

Gioia noted strong gains in the construction and manufacturing sectors. While manufacturing saw slight job losses in July, the sector continues to be one of the economy's growth areas.

"Despite this month’s loss in manufacturing, the industry, along with construction, is strong year-over-year," Gioia said.

"In contrast, the financial activities sector is down 1,000 jobs over the year and that's an industry we really need to see growth in to fully embrace an economic recovery."

Overall the state's job growth is a modest 1% year-over-year.

"Our growth is good compared to what we've seen in the past, but compared to the U.S. and other Northeast states, we still lag behind," Gioia said.

Gioia also noted that the state's labor force grew. A good sign for the future, he said.

"Moving forward, the economy and jobs should be the top priority of all candidates and policymakers," he said.

"Connecticut needs leaders who will deliver steady, sustained growth."

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).