Connecticut added 6,400 net jobs in May, giving the state 26,100 jobs added year over year. The private sector boosted employment by 6,600 jobs, yet lost 1,000 manufacturing positions.
The employment gains bring the state's unemployment rate to 6%, down two-tenths of a percentage point from the April 2015 estimate. The unemployment rate is down from 6.6% in May 2014.
Despite the overall positive numbers, however, serious concerns remain on several fronts.
First, Connecticut's job recovery since the Great Recession is still significantly behind the rest of the country and our neighboring states.
"We now have recovered only 82% of the jobs we lost in the recession," said Peter Gioia, vice president and economist for the Connecticut Business & Industry Association. "And at the pace of recovery, it will be June of 2016 before we hit the 100% mark. With 82% job recovery, we are still far below the U.S. rate of job recovery and even more below neighboring state Massachusetts."
Another area of concern are weak numbers for manufacturing, which lost 1,000 jobs in May.
"Manufacturing, along with financial services and insurance are key drivers of the Connecticut economy," said Gioia. "On a year-over-year basis, these two areas combined accounted for only 700 of the 26,100 jobs. So these are critical areas where we still need some improvement."
Gioia also noted that the tax increases in the proposed FY 2016-2017 state budget have the potential to put the brakes on business investment and the modest job recovery the state has experienced so far.
"It's absolutely critical for the state of Connecticut to pass a budget and tax package that will help businesses make investments to create more jobs, because even with this positive report, that is certainly needed," said Gioia.
The state budget will be taken up in a special session of the Connecticut General Assembly at the end of this month.