Job growth increased in May when employers added 1,000 jobs, but the unemployment rate is stuck at 8 percent, according to officials at the Connecticut Department of Labor.

It’s the best five month start to a year of employment gains since the job recovery began at the start of 2010, labor officials said. In April, the state gained 6,400 jobs, but the unemployment rate has been stuck for the past four months at 8 percent.

“With the exception of a storm-impacted February, Connecticut has been experiencing consistent job growth so far this year,” Andy Condon, director of the Department of Labor’s Office of Research, said.

In February, the state lost 5,700 jobs mostly because of the snowstorm that blanketed the northeast. The other four months of the year the state continued to gain jobs.

“The upward turn in labor force participation, after 35 straight months of decline, may indicate increased confidence in labor market conditions,” Condon said.

The news of improving job numbers is encouraging, Peter Gioia, a Connecticut Business and Industry Association economist, said.

“Year over year job growth now stands at 12,500 jobs, but there still is bad news in eastern Connecticut,” Gioia said, noting that the Norwich/New London labor market area is down 3,000 jobs year over year and 2,100 jobs month over month.

“For the rest of the state, it looks like we’re beginning to see some traction . . .” he added.

But Condon warned that that state could be looking at an uncertain future when it comes to jobs in Connecticut.

“There are still headwinds ahead,” Condon said.”Federal budget sequester cuts could hinder employment growth possibilities throughout the rest of 2013.”

Connecticut has a large defense industry which could be impacted by further government spending cuts that will be phased in later this year if Congress fails to address the federal budget.

The national unemployment rate is 7.6 percent.


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