A new report from the Connecticut Department of Labor shows that the state added 4,800 positions in December 2014 and more importantly is just 22,800 jobs away from a full recovery.
In 2014, the state gained 26,700 jobs, which is up from the 18,400 it gained in 2013. This means that state has regained 96,300 positions, or 80.9 percent of the 119,100 seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs that were lost during the recession.
“Connecticut finishes 2014 on an encouraging note with more than 80 percent of nonfarm jobs recovered from the Great Recession — almost 94 percent for the private sector,” Andy Condon, director of the Office of Research, said. “Employment gains were widespread across most industries and regions, although wages are slower to recover.”
Average hourly earnings in December were about $28.42 an hour and private sector weekly pay was about $960.60, up about 2 percent over the year.
The unemployment rate also dropped a tenth of a percent to 6.4 percent in December 2014 — a full percentage point below where it was in December 2013. The Labor Department also revised downward its November job gains from 4,600 to 2,900.
“While Connecticut appears to be doing well right now, there is concern for keeping this momentum through 2016,” Connecticut Business and Industry Economist Peter Gioia said. “We have a state budget crisis and other matters before the state legislature that could help or hinder job recovery.”
And while recovering nearly 81 percent of the jobs lost in the recession is good news, Gioia said Connecticut is still lagging the U.S. recovery, which has recovered about 120 percent of the jobs lost, and Massachusetts, which has recovered 150 percent of the jobs lost.
In order to continue to see this kind of economic growth, Gioia said, the state has to do the right thing, particularly in public policy.
Monday’s Labor Department report also found that six of the 10 major industry supersectors added jobs in December. The leisure and hospitality sector gained 2,100 jobs and the manufacturing supersector added 1,200 jobs. Education and health services, government, information and other services also added jobs in December.
Monday’s report is the last one the Connecticut Labor Department will release for a few months. The January 2015 job numbers will be released on March 16. The numbers for February 2015 will be released on March 26.