Connecticut’s unemployment rate remained steady at 7 percent in March and the state added 4,900 jobs, according to a Connecticut Labor Department report.
“March showed some solid signs of a return to previous job growth trends,” Andy Condon, director of the Office of Research, said Thursday.
Some of those positive signs included a “third month in a row of an expanding labor force and employment/population ratio, growing manufacturing employment, and positive movements in private-sector hours and earnings,” Condon said. “Recovery trend employment growth appears to be returning following the volatile winter.”
The 800 jobs the state added in February were adjusted upward by 600 jobs for a total of 1,400. In March, the state added 4,100 private-sector jobs and 800 government jobs.
To date, the state has regained 54.6 percent or about 65,000 of the 119,100 jobs lost during the recession. With the 4,900 jobs added in March, the report shows 9,400 jobs gained year-over-year.
In March, the national economy had recovered all jobs lost during the March 2008-February 2010 economic downturn, according to Peter Gioia, an economist with the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.
“Even though both of these factors lag the U.S. recovery, it does seem to be picking up some steam,” Gioia said Thursday.
But not every economist showed as much enthusiasm.
“The March job numbers were basically in line with expectations,” Don Klepper-Smith, an economist with DataCore Partners LLC, said. He added that it would be premature to be excited about the gains because the growth was still slow after five years of recovery, adding that Connecticut would not fully recover all the jobs lost until about 2016.
Connecticut has recovered an average of 1,327 jobs per month since February of 2010, with the private sector recovering the quickest at the rate of 1,561 jobs per month.
“On a cumulative year-to-date, comparing the average from the first quarter of 2014 to one year ago, total non-farm jobs have risen only fractionally, climbing a mild 0.5 percent . . . nothing to brag about, especially since we’ve seen such large gains from previous expansions,” Klepper-Smith said.
The growing industries in March were; hospitality and leisure at 1.5 percent; restaurants and hotels at 1.8 percent; trade, transportation and utilities at 0.7 percent. Jobs in the education and health industries remained stable, while professional and business services lost jobs.