Connecticut lost 1,700 jobs in December but unemployment still finished the year lower than in 2015, according to the state Department of Labor. Year over year, the state ended 2016 with 2,000 fewer nonagricultural jobs. The Labor Department also adjusted its previous November estimate of a 2,100 job-gain to 1,900.
Nevertheless, Connecticut’s unemployment rate fell three-tenths of a percentage point in December to 4.4 percent – a point better than December 2015’s jobless rate of 5.4 percent, and the lowest since July 2007.
“Connecticut’s December employment numbers continued the recent trend of mixed signals from the two monthly employment series produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics,” said Andy Condon, director of the Labor Department’s Office of Research. “While we do not yet have supporting data, a combination of tight labor markets, an aging workforce, increased self-employment and growing out-of-state commuting could explain slowing job growth and rapidly declining unemployment rates.”
The state has now recovered 70 percent of the 119,100 jobs lost during the 2008-10 recession – slowest among the New England states and well below the national average of 182 percent.
Pete Gioia, vice president and economist at the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, noted that Massachusetts added 6,600 jobs in December, gained 75,000 in 2016, and has recovered 313 percent of jobs lost during the recession.
“How we can have a discrepancy of 77,000 jobs with our neighbor to the north on a year-over-year basis should really set off alarm bells and questions for policymakers,” Gioia said.
Four of Connecticut’s 10 major industry supersectors saw job gains at year’s end, with private education and health services adding 800, manufacturing adding 300, financial activites gaining 200 and leisure and hospitality adding 100.
Private-sector employment decreased by 1,600 jobs in December, while the government supersector fell by 100 jobs.