HARTFORD, CT — After months of job losses, preliminary numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show Connecticut ended 2017 by gaining 6,000 jobs in the month of December.
“December job growth ended the year on a better note than in previous months,” Andy Condon, Director of the Office of Research, said. “Preliminary data indicate that Connecticut grew 7,700 jobs on a seasonally-adjusted basis and 6,200 jobs on an average annual basis. This is actually better than the 5,000 average annual growth seen in 2016.”
However, the numbers are still subject to revision and won’t be finalized until March. In 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly estimates, based on sampling, skewed an average of 5,425 jobs higher per month than what eventually was finalized in March 2017.
Also, not everyone agrees with how the state calculates the numbers by comparing the average monthly job growth in 2016 to monthly job growth in 2017.
Don Klepper-Smith of DataCare Partners in New Haven believes the job growth for the year should be added annually and then compared to the job growth from the previous year.
Using Klepper-Smith’s calculation the state only grew 5,900 jobs in 2017, or 0.4 percent on an average annual basis. He said that’s about one-third the average annual long-term growth rate of 1.1 percent realized between 1960 and 2016.
“This says the state’s economy is basically ‘moving sideways’, and again, ‘is precariously on the edge of recession’ as of early 2018,” Klepper-Smith said.
While December’s job gain was a “nice technical bounce,” according to Klepper-Smith, it doesn’t change the fact that Connecticut still lost jobs in four of the last six months of 2017.
But Connecticut Business and Industry Association Economist Pete Gioia was more optimistic about the December job gains.
“This is the first good news we’ve gotten in a long while,” Gioia said. “If those numbers hold up when the final report comes out in March, it will be a stark change from where we ended up in 2016, losing 200 jobs.”
That’s not to say Connecticut doesn’t have a long way to go.
Connecticut has lost 7,600 jobs since June 2017 and it’s the only New England state that hasn’t recovered all the jobs lost in the Great Recession.
The preliminary numbers provided by the Department of Labor show Connecticut has now recovered 76.4 percent of the jobs lost during the Great Recession. The state still needs an additional 28,100 jobs to reach an overall non-farm employment expansion since the recession.
The unemployment rate stayed the same at 4.6 percent for the month of December.
November’s job loss of 3,500 jobs was revised to a loss of 1,800 jobs.
In December, five of the 10 major industry supersectors gained employment, while four declined.
Professional and business services grew 2,700 net new jobs, trade, transportation and utilities increased by 2,600 jobs, and the manufacturing supersector ended the year by gaining 2,000 jobs. The leisure and hospitality supersector reversed a trend of job losses and ended the year by gaining 1,600 jobs during the month. The education and health care supersector also grew by 400 jobs. The “other services” supersector lost 1,200 jobs in December, and the construction industry shed 1,000 jobs.