State lawmakers must build on May's positive jobs numbers, an economist with the state's largest business association said today.

Connecticut gained 6,700 jobs last month, although the Department of Labor revised the April numbers down by 1,600 for a loss of 3,100.

"May was very good news," CBIA economist Pete Gioia said.

"We saw a net gain of 6,700 and an increase in the labor force—which is also good news.”

Gioia did note several concerns with the May report, issues he said must be a major focus during ongoing state budget negotiations.

“Our unemployment rate of 4.9% is still the highest in New England,” Gioia said. “And we're the only state in the region yet to recover all jobs lost during the 2008-2010 recession."

Connecticut has recovered 79% of the 119,100 jobs lost during the recession. In comparison, the U.S. has recovered 192%, while Massachusetts leads the region with a recovery rate above 300%.

Employers added 11,000 jobs (0.7%) since May 2016, while the U.S. has an average growth rate of 1.6%.

New England’s year-over-year growth rate is 1.3%. Massachusetts' nonfarm employment grew 1.6% in the last 12 months.

“As lawmakers meet to discuss the state’s next two-year budget, it’s critical that they create a predictable and stable fiscal environment for job creators to feel confident to invest in Connecticut," Gioia said.

“By building on this momentum, hopefully we’ll see continued good news over the next several months.”

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, contact Meaghan MacDonald (860.244.1957).