The state of Connecticut gained 300 jobs in November, causing the unemployment rate to drop by two-tenths of a percentage point to 8.8 percent.
“November’s job and unemployment numbers are encouraging, especially in the light of the challenges that Hurricane Sandy brought,” Andy Condon, director of the Office of Research at the Connecticut Department of Labor, said last week. “However, the continuing trend of civilian labor force decline driven primarily by previously working individuals’ causes concern that we are seeing a fundamental shift in the demographics of Connecticut’s workforce.”
The storm that came at the end of October may have been a mixed blessing for the state because it damaged homes and property and possibly cost some jobs, but it also may have created some construction jobs.
The construction super-sector added 700 jobs this month and the trade, transportation, and utilities super-sector added 400 jobs.
Employment was up in the Norwich-New London market by 500 jobs, the greater Hartford market by 400 jobs, and Waterbury market by 200 jobs. The Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, New Haven, and Danbury labor markets lost jobs, due mostly to “storm-related issues,” according to the report.
The Connecticut Business and Industry Association said November’s jobs report, which revised the 1,200 job gain in October up 200 jobs, was “somewhat encouraging.”
However, “Despite the welcome addition of jobs and the lower unemployment rate,” CBIA Vice President and Economist Pete Gioia said “the report continues to demonstrate weakness in Connecticut’s economy.”
Private-sector employers added 600 jobs in November for a gain of 4,100 positions since November 2011. Connecticut is now back on the plus side for the year in overall non-farm jobs gained, with 900 positions added.
Gioia pointed out that the decline in the unemployment rate is largely attributed to a drop of 11,100 individuals from labor-force participation (the number is 34,900 over the year). Connecticut’s unemployment rate of 8.8 percent also remains well above the national rate of 7.7 percent.
Unemployment is five-tenths of a percentage point higher this November than it was in November 2011.
November’s average weekly initial unemployment claims for first-time Connecticut filers increased over the month by 2,623 to 7,530, but were still lower than claims from last November following the freak October snowstorm.
“With the opening of the 2013 session of the General Assembly just weeks away these sobering jobs numbers should make economic growth a major priority for every legislator on both sides of the political aisle,” Gioia said.
A few months ago, Republican lawmakers and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s staff were blaming each other for job losses when the state’s unemployment rate shot up to 9 percent for the month of August.
Back in September, Malloy issued a press release questioning the accuracy of the labor report, since the unemployment increase didn’t seem to correspond with the number of claims being filed. Republican lawmakers used it as a campaign pitch to encourage voters to vote Republican in November. They claimed the increase in unemployment at that time was due solely to the Malloy administration’s policies.
The administration pushed back saying that their assertion is ridiculous since Republicans controlled the governor’s office for 16 years and during that time the state didn’t grow any jobs.
“Since Governor Malloy took office the state has gained thousands of jobs and the unemployment rate is down,” Andrew Doba, Malloy’s spokesman, said Monday. “That said, we have a long way to go to get to where we need to be.”