Connecticut’s unemployment rate dropped to 7 percent in February as the state gained 800 jobs. The Labor Department said the modest growth suggests bad weather can be blamed for killing some of the 10,400 jobs the state lost in January.
The state’s private sector added 2,700 jobs during February but the government sector lost 1,900 positions during the same month.
Meanwhile, Connecticut’s unemployment rate continued the slow decline it has been experiencing for months. In February, unemployment was 7 percent, down from 7.2 percent in January. That’s the seventh month in a row the rate has gone down, but Connecticut’s unemployment still remains higher than the 6.7 percent national average.
Andy Condon, the Labor Department’s research office director, said Thursday’s report showed continued evidence of economic recovery.
“February’s job report seemed to confirm that weather was partly responsible for January’s sharp decline as we saw recovery in several of the industries that had stumbled,” he said. “The continued decline in Connecticut’s unemployment rate, driven by growing household employment, signals that we continue on the path of job recovery.”
Andrew Doba, a spokesman for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, said the report clearly showed good news but “as the governor has said, we’ve got more work to do.”
In a statement, Joe Brennan, senior vice president of public policy for the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, said Connecticut still had “a long way to go on the job front.” He said the state has only recovered 50 percent of the jobs lost during the economic recession and the gains reported in February were modest compared to the steep losses in January.
“It’s a relatively small number. Looking deeper into the numbers, we did see a gain of 2,700 jobs in the private sector,” which helped offset losses in public-sector jobs, he said.
Many of the new jobs were added in the construction and professional and business sectors but the manufacturing sector saw losses.
“There are still some troubling trends in Connecticut,” Brennan said. “Importantly, in the manufacturing sector – critical to Connecticut’s economy – we saw a loss of almost 2,000 jobs in February.
The Labor Department reported that at 1,653,400 nonfarm jobs in February, the state needs to reach the 1,713,000 level to start a true nonfarm employment expansion. This will require an additional 59,600 jobs going forward.