Connecticut’s labor picture continues to show signs of improvement, as preliminary nonfarm job estimates from the business payroll survey administered by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show the state gained 3,400 net jobs in January, to a level of 1,689,000, seasonally adjusted.
Over the year, nonagricultural employment in the state grew by 5,500 jobs. December’s 2017 originally released job gain of 6,000 was revised down 300 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to a gain of 5,700 for the month.
The number of the state’s unemployed residents was estimated at 86,800, seasonally adjusted, up 400 from December. As a result, Connecticut’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.5 percent in January.
Although the state’s manufacturing sector lost 500 positions in January, it has gained some 6,000 jobs since last year, making it the state’s fastest growing industry – and marking the first time that sector has increased average annual employment since 2011. Average employment was about 159,400 for 2017, up from 156,500 for 2016.
In addition, the private sector gained 9,300 jobs in January from 2017, a 0.6 percent increase.
The state has now recovered 100 percent of the jobs lost during the 2008-10 recession. The six New England states averaged 1 percent growth for the year, led by Rhode Island at 1.5 percent. The U.S. averaged 1.5 percent growth in 2017.
“We’re seeing momentum,” said Connecticut Business & Industry Association Economist Pete Gioia. “We still need improvement but we’re going in the right direction.
“However,” he said, “we are concerned that the legislature’s heavy focus this year on new workplace mandates and other business costs will hurt that momentum by making companies less competitive.”