Government hiring, especially at the local level, helped drive Connecticut’s job gains in April.
According to the Labor Department, the government sector gained 1,500 jobs in April, which helped offset the 300 jobs the private sector lost.
It’s the third straight month of job gains, but those gains were much more modest than the average monthly gains the state has seen since the end of the recession. On average the state has seen an increase of about 1,500 jobs per month. In April the state only gained 1,200 jobs.
The state’s unemployment rate also dipped one-tenth to 6.3 percent from March to April. The 4,000 jobs the state gained in March were revised downward by 700 to 3,300 positions.
“This was a relatively quiet month in the job market with mixed results across the state’s major industry sectors,” Andy Condon, Director of the Office of Research, said. “Continuing job growth combined with improving wages appears to be attracting more job seekers into the labor market.”
Connecticut has now recovered 93,200 positions, or 78.3 percent, of the 119,000 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs lost during the March 2008-February 2010 employment recession.
Connecticut is averaging a gain of about 1,503 jobs per month since February 2010. The private sector has recovered at a better pace and has replenished 98,300, or 88.1 percent, of the 111,600 private sector jobs lost during the downturn.
“Over the last four years, we have made the tough decisions and implemented a new strategy to create jobs in Connecticut. We are pleased that we are continuing to make progress toward our goal of a stronger economy, one that works for Connecticut families,” Devon Puglia, a spokesman for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, said.
According to the Labor Department, four of the 10 major industry supersectors added jobs in April and just three declined. The government sector gained 1,500 jobs, 1,400 of which were local government jobs. Manufacturing also posted a monthly increase and construction experienced a healthy gain, while education and health services showed small gains.
Professional and business services saw the largest decline of 2,100 jobs in April. The Labor Department attributed that to a “subdued spring hiring in administrative and support services, which includes temporary help services.”
The leisure and hospitality supersector lost 700 jobs in April. And hiring in the retail sector also was down by about 1,500 jobs. The Labor Department attributed the decline in “retail trade, restaurants, accommodations, and temporary hiring” to an earlier than usual Easter. This year Easter fell on April 5, instead of April 20.
Don Klepper-Smith, chief economist with DataCore Partners in New Haven, said the April job numbers are “in line with my expectations, and reflect a path of slow but positive growth.”
If the state wants to recover all the jobs it lost in the recession it will have to add 1,500 jobs a month to reach full recovery by mid-2016, according to Klepper-Smith.
Klepper-Smith said he expects the state to continue to recover jobs in 2015, and “nothing on the immediate horizon even hints at the next recession.”