Connecticut lost 1,400 jobs in May, which marks the first job loss of 2016, according to preliminary figures released Thursday by the Labor Department.
“Connecticut’s decline of 1,400 jobs in May follows a very slow month for job growth across the country,” Andy Condon, director of the Office of Research, said.
Connecticut’s unemployment rate remained steady at 5.7 percent.
“Our labor force saw small but equal percentage declines in both residents employed and unemployed, resulting in an unchanged unemployment rate,” Condon said.
The 3,500 job gain reported in April was also revised downward to 3,200.
Connecticut has now recovered 78.8 percent of the nonfarm jobs that were lost during the Great Recession. That means the state needs to add 25,200 jobs to attain a full job recovery.
Economists like Don Klepper-Smith, estimate that based on those numbers Connecticut won’t fully recover until the end of 2017 at the current pace.
Klepper-Smith, chief economist with DataCore Partners LLC, said year-to-date job growth in Connecticut is only 0.9 percent, which is less than half the national average of 1.9 percent.
It means Connecticut’s economy is “clearly facing major obstacles to growth heading into mid-2016,” Klepper-Smith said. “Taxes revenues are dropping; we’re seeing an average of 500 people leave Connecticut each week on a net basis due to outmigration; the number of unemployed individuals is up by 2,100 over the last twelve months; confidence in state government is declining as is indicated by recent polls; and business confidence across the state is being challenged like never before.”
Peter Gioia, an economist with the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, said that the numbers reported Thursday were disappointing, but not unexpected.
Gioia said that this weak report was expected after the announcement that the United States only added 38,000 jobs overall in May.
“On a slightly more positive note, Connecticut has added 13,900 more jobs since last May and we have seen some sectors of higher quality jobs growing,” Gioia said.
But challenges remain.
“Are we heading back into a recession? No, but we are hitting some bumps in the road,” Gioia said. “Put it this way, we just blew out a tire on a big pothole and now have to change it before we can move forward again.”