Connecticut's February employment report shows early volatility in the state’s 2017 labor market and strikes a stark contrast with the regional and national jobs picture, an economist with the state's leading business organization said today.

The state lost 1,600 jobs last month—swinging from a 6,500-job gain in January. Unemployment rose two-tenths of a point to 4.7%.

"January got 2017 off to a strong and encouraging start, while February numbers slipped, we’re still ahead for the year and need to create positive momentum," CBIA economist Pete Gioia said.

Gioia said year-over-year growth for the state was a net 2,100 new jobs, and attributed the unemployment rate increase to a growing labor force.

“That’s largely because, year over year, we’ve added 10,200 people to the labor force,” he said.

“So we have more people looking for work.”

Nationally, U.S. employers added 235,000 jobs in February while Massachusetts gained 10,100.

“Connecticut’s performance is lagging national and regional rates when it comes to jobs and that must be a top priority for lawmakers moving forward,” Gioia said.

The state has recovered just 74% of the 119,100 jobs lost during the 2008-2010 recession, the slowest rate of any of the New England states.

Gioia noted that the February report did revise January's already strong gains by 800 jobs for an overall gain for that month of 6,500 positions.

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).