Courtesy of the Labor Department

HARTFORD, CT — Connecticut’s job market took another hit in October, when, according to the state Labor Department, it lost 7,200 jobs.

Private sector employment declined 4,200 jobs in October while the public sector saw a loss of 3,000 jobs. September’s job losses were also increased further from 5,200 to 6,600.

Despite the sharp decline in payroll jobs, Connecticut’s unemployment rate for October fell three tenths of a point to 5.1 percent, which is now three tenths of a point lower than it was a year ago.

“Connecticut’s two monthly measures of labor market health continue to send mixed signals,” Andy Condon, Director of the Office of Research, said. “Payroll job counts have declined for four consecutive months, indicating a significant slowing of recent job growth trends. However, the residential employment survey and model continue to show increasing employment, decreasing unemployment and a significant drop in the unemployment rate.”

Condon said he needs to see more data before figuring out which direction the labor market is headed.

But Don Klepper-Smith, an economist with DataCore Partners, said he doesn’t need any more information to draw the conclusion that this is bad.

“Our worst-case job scenario seems to be unfolding at the worst possible time when the domestic economy is also showing signs of weakness,” Klepper-Smith said. “This new data says we’ve lost 13,800 jobs over the last two months alone given preliminary data, suggesting in strong terms that the state’s labor market [is] clearly in retreat, posting significant losses in the process, and now raises the possibility that we may be seeing an important turning point in the overall Connecticut job picture.”

Over the last four months, Connecticut has lost 14,900 jobs.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” Pete Gioia, an economist with the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, said.

“There were some bright spots in the report as construction and mining, manufacturing, and financial services — all core industries here in Connecticut — added jobs. But there’s nothing you can sugarcoat when we’re down to only 3,000 jobs year over year added in the state.”

Based on the recent data, that means Connecticut has a net gain of 3,200 jobs over the last 12 months.

Gioia said that means Connecticut has recovered just 69 percent of the jobs lost during the Great Recession — the worst in New England.

A spokeswoman for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said they are encouraged by the drop in unemployment “but at the same time, we know that there is more work to do in growing the jobs of the future.”

Meg Green, a spokeswoman for Malloy, said that’s why they’re committee to making “historic investments across all of Connecticut’s core industries. From deals with major corporations like Sikorsky, UTC and Alexion to the small business express program.” She said the administration welcomes a conversation about job growth with anyone willing “to bring ideas and solutions to move our state forward together.”

Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven,  the job numbers are “devastating”and “speak to the fact that businesses have lost confidence in the state.”

He said business are either closing or laying people off “because of the extreme uncertainty of future budget deficits.” He said it should be a signal to both parties to work together to “reverse this trend and show that we are ready to change our state.”