Connecticut jobless rate falls slightly in August

By Kevin Zimmerman

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The state recorded a net gain of 300 jobs in August to attain a seasonally-adjusted number of 1,690,800, according to the preliminary estimate of Connecticut’s total nonfarm employment from the business survey administered by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). July’s originally released job gain of 1,700 (0.1 percent) was revised down sharply to a loss of 800.

From August 2015 through last month, Connecticut employment grew by about 18,600 positions — 1.1 percent, or 1,550 jobs per month. The state’s unemployment rate fell for the second straight month, to 5.6 percent in August from July’s 5.7 percent. U.S. unemployment in August was 4.9 percent.

Private sector employment fell by 0.1 percent to 1,500 jobs in August, but grew 1.1 percent by 16,200 jobs for the year. Government employment rose by 0.8 percent to 241,100 for the month, and was up by 1 percent or 2,400 jobs for the year.

Education and health services added the most jobs in August – 2,000 jobs to total 329,900, for a 0.6 percent increase — with leisure and hospitality (1,100 to 155,200, for 0.7 percent) and information (300 to 33,600, or 0.9 percent) also showing gains. Declines were recorded in the construction and mining (-1,700 jobs to total 56,500, for a 2.9 percent decrease), other services (-1,400 to 66,200, for -2.1 percent), professional and business services (-800 to 218,200, for -0.4 percent), financial activities (-600 to 132,800, for -0.4 percent), manufacturing (-300 to 160,000, for -0.2 percent) and trade transportation and utilities (-100 to 297,300, down less than one-tenth of one percent) sectors.

Meanwhile, Pete Gioia, economist at the Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA), called the report “bitterly disappointing.”

“On one hand, we get tremendous news like Pratt & Whitney’s announcement of up to 8,000 new Connecticut jobs over the next decade,” he said, referring to the East Hartford-based aerospace manufacturer that on Sept. 16 said it planned to hire 25,000 new workers worldwide over the next 10 years, with 8,000 of those new hires being in Connecticut.

“Yet just as we’re celebrating that, these numbers show that the state economy’s foundation needs to be fortified,” Gioia said.

The state has now recovered 96,600, or 81.1 percent, of the 119,000 seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs lost during the recession of March 2008 through February 2010. Gioia, citing figures from DataCore Partners indicating that Massachusetts and Vermont lead New England with 270 percent and 162 percent respectively, said, “On balance, this is a report we wish we didn’t get.”

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