American Jobs Center
Lt. Gov. Susan Bysieiwicz and Acting Labor Commissioner Dante Bartolomeo at the American Jobs Center in Hartford. Credit: Christine Stuart / CTNewsJunkie

Labor officials reported Thursday that Connecticut’s unemployment rate dipped to 4.4% and the state added 1,600 jobs in April. 

Unemployment weekly filings are at historic lows with 16,800 unemployed workers filing for benefits, according to the Labor Department. 

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t jobs to be had. 

 “This month’s economic data shows all the market indicators continue to move in the right direction—jobs are being added, unemployment is dropping, and fewer people are filing for unemployment benefits,” Labor Commissioner Dante Bartolomeo said. “For job seekers, the time to take advantage of this labor market is now—there are 100,000 active job openings in Connecticut across all industries. Job search assistance, training, and other resources are available free of charge through the CTDOL American Job Centers.”

The Labor Department’s Director of Research Patrick Flaherty said, “The decline in the unemployment rate and increase in the labor force continue to be good news for the state. We still see a high employee turnover rate—people are leaving their jobs to take better jobs—good for the labor market but tough on employers. All in all, this is a solid jobs report and shows Connecticut continues to move in the right direction.”

However, Eric Gjede, vice president of public policy for the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, said the pace is slow and uncertain. 

“At this rate, we will not recover all jobs lost to pandemic shutdowns and restrictions for at least another 18 months—and that’s assuming that fears of a recession are not realized,” Gjede said. 

“Our labor force is down by more than 62,000 people since February 2020, which represents almost half the region’s losses and 12% of the national decline, while employers are trying to fill 110,000 open jobs,” he said. 

Connecticut has now recovered 82.1% of the jobs lost during the COVID shutdown. 

The private sector has recovered much quicker having recovered 85.1% of the jobs lost, but the public sector, which includes state, local, federal and tribal employment, has recovered 47.5% of the jobs lost during that period. 

Of the 10 major industry supersectors five have declined and five have increased. Leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, financial services, construction and mining and other services have increased in April while Trade, transportation, and utilities, information, professional and business services, education and health services, and government have declined. 

 “Our recovery remains a fragile one, with manufacturing gains and seasonal growth in leisure and hospitality last month offsetting concerning losses in the trade, transportation, and utilities, information, and professional and business services sectors,” Gjede said. 

He said employers are still dealing with numerous challenges including inflation, supply chain disruptions, the surge in COVID positivity rates, and the labor shortage crisis.