The state added around 3,600 jobs in October while the unemployment rate held steady at 6.4 percent, according to a report released Thursday by the Labor Department.
The report revises last month’s estimates to 10,500 jobs gained, 1,000 less than the department reported last month. The September report was released just prior to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s re-election and boasted the largest monthly gain since April 1994.
Andy Condon, the Labor Department’s research office director, said this month’s report shows steady growth.
“Connecticut’s job market continues to steadily add jobs this year at the best pace since the recovery began and that growth seems to be drawing more people into the labor force,” Andy Condon, the department’s research office director, said. “Retail trade was especially strong this month, possibly reflecting an earlier buildup for the holiday season, although the government sector is experiencing continued declines.”
The October gains bring the state to 1,681,800 seasonally adjusted jobs, which is a growth of 18,3000 jobs during the first 10 months of the year. According to the report, the state has now regained 87,900 of the 119,100 jobs lost during the recession. That’s a about 73.8 percent. It has been adding jobs at an average of 1,570 per month since February 2010, the report said.
“This is shaping up to be the best year of Connecticut’s employment recovery so far, even with the large loss of 10,900 that started off the year in January,” the report reads.
In a press release, Malloy called the numbers “another sign of progress.”
“With more than 70,000 private sector jobs created since January of 2011, we are experiencing one of the best periods of growth in decades. More work remains to be done, and we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure Connecticut remains on a path towards an economic revival,” he said. “By working with the business community on expanding their operations or relocating to our state, we are putting Connecticut on the path to long-term prosperity.”
Economist Don Klepper-Smith, of DataCore Partners, expressed skepticism last month when the Labor Department reported 11,500 jobs added just prior to the election. Even with Thursday’s downward revision, he called the number “still somewhat surprising.” Klepper-Smith did not share the Labor Department’s enthusiasm about the state’s economic performance so far this year.
“In this respect, we can say that Connecticut’s job performance thus far in 2014 has been ‘underwhelming.’ At the current pace of job growth witnessed in recovery thus far, it will not be until mid to late 2016 before we see full job recovery,” he said.
At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Malloy said the state could see a full recovery much sooner.
“I’m hopeful that in the next year. If we have the kind of job growth in the next year that we’ve had in the last 12 months, we should be on track to do that in the next year or shortly thereafter,” he said.
Peter Gioia, an economist and vice president at the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, said Thursday’s report contained good news. The unemployment rate holding at 6.4 percent suggests that this year’s drop in the jobless rate is “real and not brought about by labor force changes,” he said.
However, Gioia said the state still has a long way to go. He said Thursday’s positive news was tempered by a deficit in the state government’s budget for this year and next year. It is critical that “we make smart decisions to improve Connecticut’s economic competitiveness if we want to see continued positive job growth,” he said in a statement.