Connecticut shed 5,200 jobs in September after losing 300 it thought it gained in August, according to the latest estimates from the Connecticut Labor Department.
It’s the third month in a row of jobs losses. Connecticut was shown to have lost 800 jobs in July after the revised numbers were released.
However, Andy Condon, director of the Office of Research, said the job market is sending a mixed signal because the state’s unemployment rate continues to fall.
Connecticut’s unemployment rate in September fell two tenths of a point to 5.4 percent, which is just one tenth of a point higher than it was a year ago.
Private sector employment fell by 2,700 in September, but remains up over the year. The government supersector lost 2,500 jobs last month and is now down over the year. Some of those job losses can be attributed to the more than 1,125 positions the state shed as a result of layoffs by both the executive and judicial branches.
There were three sectors of the economy that added jobs.
Trade, transportation and utilities added 1,200 jobs last month led by the retail component of that industry. Professional and business services was next with 900 jobs, and construction grew 600 jobs. But there were losses in education and health services, financial services, manufacturing, and leisure and hospitality.
Overall, Connecticut has added 5,000 jobs this year. Last year, according to annually adjusted data, Connecticut added a total of 12,200 jobs, which is about half of the gains initially reported.
Don Klepper-Smith, an economist with DataCore Partners in New Haven, said the September numbers are “simply horrible” and indicate that the Connecticut economy is backtracking.
He said the new data revisions to personal income issued in September show little to no growth in consumer spending power and the state’s fiscal situation is “in complete disarray.”
He suggested it’s time for the state to revise its economic strategy because Connecticut is lagging all other New England states in job recovery. Connecticut is still about 28,300 jobs away from pre-recession employment and is not likely to see a full job recovery until the middle of 2018 at the current pace. That’s right in the middle of the next gubernatorial election.
Klepper-Smith, who was an economic adviser to former Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell, has been critical of how state government has handled the Connecticut economy.
He said the economy is “now backtracking amidst the high-profile loss of GE and associated fallout.”
But the Malloy administration continues to be upbeat while pointing to the jobs created year-over-year.
“Overall, we continue to make progress in Connecticut — increasing employment by 12,800 jobs over the last year,” Kelly Donnelly, a spokeswoman for Malloy, said. “At the same time, there is more work to do. That’s why it’s more important than ever that we continue to invest in growing the jobs of the future.”
Donnelly pointed to the recent $220 million economic incentive package the state approved for Lockheed Martin to keep Sikorsky helicopter production in Stratford.
“Most recently, the historic deal reached with Sikorsky will support the growth of high quality, good paying manufacturing jobs with its promise to retain and grow 8,000 jobs, as well as benefit the hundreds of small businesses across our state that serve as suppliers,” Donnelly said.
Lockheed Martin, which purchased Sikorsky in November 2015 for $9 billion, employs 7,855 workers at its Connecticut facilities. In order to receive the full value of the package it will have to add 177 jobs to increase its total number to 8,032 by 2032. However, it will be able to access most of the funding even if it lays off some of its workforce, maintaining no less than 6,500 jobs.