June jobs report paints mixed picture, but shows signs of hope

By Kevin Zimmerman

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According to the state Department of Labor, Connecticut’s unemployment rate rose in June from 5.7 to 5.8 percent – 0.3 percent higher than it was in June 2015, and still lagging the June national unemployment rate of 4.9 percent.

And while the state added 7,900 jobs last month, the DOL revised its May figures from 1,400 jobs lost to 4,000.

“Connecticut’s decline of 1,400 jobs in May follows a very slow month for job growth across the country,” said Andy Condon, director of the DOL’s office of research. “While we can’t pinpoint an exact cause, it seems likely to be due to a change in seasonal pattern rather than an actual swing in labor markets.”

Year-over-year, Connecticut has added 17,900 net new jobs, the vast majority of which, 16,400, are in the private sector. In June, 7 out of 10 supersectors added jobs, led by the financial super-sector’s addition of 2,200 positions. Increases were also recorded in education and health services; government; professional and business services; leisure and hospitality; information; and other services.

The construction and mining supersector recorded the largest loss, dropping 800 jobs. Losses also were recorded in manufacturing and in the trade, transportation and utilities super-sector.

Peter Gioia, the chief economist for the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, called manufacturing and construction “two areas which are important to the state and should be up.”

All told, Connecticut has added 17,900 jobs over the past 12 months, and has recovered 99,200 or 83.3 percent of the 119,100 jobs it lost in the recession that ended in February 2010. The private sector has regained 106,200 or 95.1 percent of the jobs it lost in the recession. Comparatively, the U.S. recovery rate is 150 percent.

The Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk labor market recorded a gain of 3,300 jobs. The New Haven area added 5,600 positions, while Norwich-New London-Westerly lost 800 jobs and Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford lost 100 positions.

Heather Ziegler, Stamford managing partner of Deloitte, said she was “pleased to see” Connecticut gaining as many jobs as it has. “Fairfield and Westchester Counties are taking really important steps forward” from the recession, she said, “especially if you look at the trend over a long period of time instead of just one month in isolation.”

Taking the longer view, she added, “We’re seeing a lot of progress in places like Stamford and New Haven, and the recent increase in pending home sales in towns like Rowayton reflects how more and more people want to live and work and play in the same town. Being able to walk from your home to the center of a town like Rowayton or New Canaan is becoming increasingly attractive.”

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