Slow economic growth, combined with six consecutive months of labor force decline must signal lawmakers to focus on job creation, an economist with the state’s largest business organization said today.

“While this is only the first time since October we have had a job loss in the monthly reports, the labor force is shrinking at a time when we need people,” said CBIA Economist Pete Gioia.

Connecticut lost 2,000 jobs in March and the unemployment rate fell one-tenth of a point to 4.5%.

The state has only recovered 80% of the jobs lost during the recession, the slowest recovery of the six New England states.

Connecticut’s private sector has recovered 101% of jobs lost in the economic downturn.

“We are at a time in Connecticut when we should be unlocking—not restraining—the state’s economic potential,” Gioia said.

“The national and regional economies continue to see solid growth and we should be able to capture some of that, but we aren’t.

“There is a lack of focus at the state Capitol.

“When lawmakers should be focusing on job creation, they want to pass more employer mandates, which will not only make it more difficult to create those new jobs, but make it more costly to operate a business in Connecticut.”

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).