For the second month in a row, the state of Connecticut lost jobs, according to numbers released Thursday by the Labor Department.
The report found Connecticut lost 2,200 jobs in October. It also revised the state’s job loss in September from 7,600 jobs to 4,800 jobs.
“For the second month in a row Connecticut has shown job losses, possibly indicating a softening of the strong growth we have seen through August of this year,” Andy Condon, director of the Office of Research, said. “However, our annual employment growth rate continues at a strong pace.”
Connecticut’s private sector employment declined only by 400 jobs in October and still has added 23,800 positions over the year. The government sector was the largest contributor to losses in October. That sector, which includes the two tribal casinos, was down 1,800 jobs in October, but is up 300 jobs compared to last year.
Connecticut has now recovered 100,100 positions, or 84.1 percent of the 119,000 seasonally adjusted total non-farm jobs that were lost in the state during the employment downturn of 2008.
The private sector has recovered employment at a faster clip, and has now regained 107,700, or 96.5 percent, of the 111,600 private sector positions that were lost. The state needs to reach the 1,713,000 job level to enter a full non-farm employment expansionary phase. This will require an additional 18,900 non-farm jobs. A total of just 3,900 more private sector positions are needed to have a fully recovered private sector in the state.
Unemployment dropped one-tenth of a percent to 5.1 percent in October.
Connecticut’s unemployment rate has not been this low since March 2008 at the start of the Great Recession. However, the decline in the unemployment rate over the last five months is related to a falling labor force and not due to higher employment.
Despite what some will see as warning signs that another recession is on the horizon, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy praised the progress the state has made.
“Over the past year, Connecticut’s private sector has seen a net growth of almost 24,000 new jobs – healthy economic growth – and our unemployment rate has been steadily declining,” Malloy said in a statement. “We have now reached our pre-recession unemployment rate, a new and important milestone. While this month is comparatively flat, we’re no doubt seeing positive signs.”
But Don Klepper-Smith, an economist with DataCore Partners LLC, offered a more cautious view.
He’s concerned about the state’s ability to generate job gains over the next year given the “crisis of confidence” the business community has in state leaders.
“We’ve witnessed two straight monthly drops in total-non-farm jobs, and the October data can best be characterized as being very disappointing given the very strong gain of 271,000 we saw domestically,” Klepper-Smith said. “We’re clearly heading in the wrong direction on the job front, and there is quite a bit of discontent within the business community to contend with.”