As Jobs Recovery Slows, Focus Shifts to State Elections
Connecticut’s COVID-19 jobs recovery slowed for a second month in September, as employers added 17,000 positions to payrolls.
Employers have now recovered 158,400—61%—of the 291,300 jobs lost in March and April because of COVID-19 shutdowns and restrictions.
The state Department of Labor also revised August’s initially reported gains, adding 1,500 jobs to bring that month’s total to 21,900.
Connecticut employers added 32,000 jobs in July, 77,000 in June, and 28,000 in May, with the state’s phase one and phase two reopenings driving the big gains in the late spring and early summer.
“It’s always good to see jobs gains, but the growth is certainly slowing,” said Eric Gjede, CBIA vice president of government affairs.
“We’re still in a pretty tough spot. We would like to see a lot of these jobs come back much quicker.”
Regional, National Picture
Maine leads the New England states in COVID-19 employment recovery, recapturing 62% of jobs lost in March and April.
Connecticut is at 61%, followed by Rhode Island (59%), Vermont (57%), New Hampshire (51%), and Massachusetts (46%).
Nationally, U.S. employers have recovered 52% of the 22.1 million jobs lost to pandemic disruptions.
Gjede said the state and national economic outlook remains uncertain, with Congress still deadlocked on a new round of relief funding and COVID-19 cases surging across the country.
He noted that CBIA’s recently released 2020 Survey of Connecticut Businesses also revealed that employers remain concerned that the factors that hampered the state’s recovery from the last recession have not been fully addressed.
“Connecticut businesses certainly could use a little bit of short-term help, and another stimulus, if Congress would act, would be great,” Gjede said.
“But in the long term, it’s really going to be Connecticut lawmakers who make the choices that impact the business community.
“While there’s a lot of attention on the U.S. presidential election, we cannot ignore how important the state legislative elections are to rebuilding Connecticut’s economy.”
Sectors, Labor Markets
Seven of the state’s 10 major industry sectors posted gains in September, led by leisure and hospitality, which added 6,900 jobs (5.7%) and has now recovered 66% of its March-April losses.
Professional and business services gained 4,300 jobs (2.1%), followed by government (2,300; 1%), trade, transportation, and utilities (2,000; 0.7%), manufacturing (1,500; 1%); education and health services (1,300; 0.4%), and information (600; 2.1%).
Gjede noted manufacturing’s rebound from August, when the sector lost 1,800 jobs, although it has recovered just 43% of the 11,500 lost earlier this year.
“We have been hearing about the impact of the slowdown in the aerospace industry,” he said. “That’s one we are concerned about given the importance of manufacturing to the state.”
Other services lost 700 jobs last month (-1.2%), financial activities shed 700 positions (-0.6%), and construction and mining employment declined 0.9% (-500).
Four of the state’s six major labor markets added jobs last month, led by Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk where 6,000 jobs were added (1.7%).
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford gained 3,600 jobs (0.7%), followed by New Haven (2,100; 0.8%) and Norwich-New London-Westerly (900; 0.8%).
Waterbury was unchanged for the month and Danbury lost 500 jobs (-0.7%).
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