Despite pegging Connecticut’s unemployment rate at a slightly higher 6.5 percent in November, a monthly report from Labor Department estimates the state’s economy added 4,600 jobs and boasted a third consecutive month of job growth.
The report released Thursday morning also revised upward October job growth estimates by 700 positions, putting that month’s gains at 4,300 jobs. That increase followed a gain of 10,500 jobs in September.
The unemployment rate has increased by one tenth of a percent from 6.4 percent, where it was hovering in September and October. With last month’s increase, the 6.5 percent unemployment rate is still 1 percentage point beneath the November 2013 rate of 7.5 percent.
Andy Condon, the director of the Labor Department’s research office, said better-than-average growth ahead of the holiday season has helped to drive people into the labor market.
“Connecticut’s recent string of healthier employment gains looks to be attracting many more job seekers into the state’s labor market in the lead-up to the holiday season and holiday hiring appears to be above average,” he said. “We are also starting to observe some much improved estimates of private sector wage growth that may be encouraging labor force participation as well.”
According to the report, the state has now recovered 78.3 percent of the jobs lost during the 2008 to 2010 recession. That means it has regained 93,200 of the total 119,000 lost jobs. That recovery continues to occur in the private sector. The report said Connecticut has recovered 92 percent of the private sector jobs lost and needs to gain an additional 9,000 private sector jobs for a full recovery in that sector.
In statement, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the Thursday report was a positive sign of economic improvement. Malloy said he hoped to pass job growth policies during the upcoming legislative session.
“Labor force participation is up. We are seeing growth in nearly every sector of the economy. And the private sector in particular has almost completely recovered the jobs lost during the recession,” Malloy said. “While these are positive signs, it is critical that we work to make the changes that lead to even greater positive growth. I won’t be satisfied until everyone who wants a job has one.”
The recovery has not extended to the government sector. Connecticut continues to post small losses of government jobs. The sector dropped 100 jobs in November, but the government supersector has lost a net 9,800 jobs throughout the recovery.
According to the report, private sector workers averaged about 34.2 hours a week at an average hourly rate of about $28.81 in November.
In an email, Don Klepper-Smith, chief economist and research director at DataCore Partners, called Connecticut’s November report “a tad better than expected, and slightly exceeded my expectations” but still lagging far behind the national recovery.
“New data also shows that our job recovery rate — defined as jobs gained back expressed as a percentage of those lost during the prior recession on a peak to trough job basis — now stands at 78.3 percent, as compared to a national figure of 119.3 percent as of November 2014. So we’ve recovered all of our jobs nationally, but still have a way to go here in Connecticut,” Klepper-Smith said.
Incoming Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano agreed in a Thursday statement.
“We have not been able to keep up with national improvements because Connecticut’s tax policies are wrong, the business policies are wrong and the attitude to the free market is wrong. We cannot over celebrate today’s numbers because we still need to bring change to Connecticut policies. We owe that to the thousands of people struggling to find work every day,” Fasano said.