Connecticut’s jobs market was sluggish in April, losing an estimated 1,500 jobs from March levels, while the state unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percent to 4.9 percent, according to the state Department of Labor.
The April loss erases the 1,300 jobs that DOL said the state gained in March, a hiring increase since revised downward by the department to 600 jobs.
“Though April nonfarm job estimates fell by 1,500 we are still well ahead of last year’s pace,” said Andy Condon, director of the DOL’s office of research. “For the fourth month in a row we have seen small increases in the unemployment rate accompanied by larger increases in the labor force. This continues to indicate that workers are entering or rejoining the labor force and many are finding work.”
Connecticut Business & Industry Association economist Pete Gioia wasn’t so optimistic.
“This report should be setting off alarm bells at the state Capitol,” he said. “It’s imperative that the state’s budget rebuilds confidence to create solid business investment that leads to jobs here in the state. The two are intertwined.”
“We can’t expect to add jobs and grow the economy without solving our fiscal issues,” he added.
Connecticut has added 5,500 jobs, a gain of 0.3 percent, since April 2016, the slowest year-over-year growth of the New England states. New Hampshire led the region with 1.8 percent job growth over that period, followed by Massachusetts at 1.6 percent and Rhode Island at 1 percent. The U.S. added jobs at a 1.5 percent rate over the last 12 months.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported that Connecticut’s economy grew by 1 percent last year, behind only Vermont in the New England region.
“Connecticut is a serious outlier,” Gioia said.