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Connecticut’s labor market continues to make gains by adding an estimated 5,000 jobs last month, according to the jobs report from the Labor Department.

That’s on top of a revision that turned the number of jobs in April from a 900 job loss to a 1,200 job gain. It means so far this year Connecticut has gained 18,400 jobs.

“Connecticut’s economy continues its solid performance despite uncertainties that include interest rates and inflation,” Labor Commissioner Danté Bartolomeo said. “Economic indicators remained strong; unemployment is at a three-and-a-half year low; businesses are adding jobs to payrolls; and those job gains are broad, covering eight economic supersectors.”

Earlier this month The Bureau of Labor Statistics found inflation slowed to 4%, the lowest in two years.

“May data shows that summer tourism and recreation are underway — a good sign for restaurants and leisure businesses. The labor market remains competitive for employers — they are working hard to hire and retain their talent,” Bartolomeo said. 

The private sector has recovered 99.9% of the jobs it lost in the pandemic shutdown in March and April of 2020. It means the state has gained an average of 3,700 jobs per month. That’s more than the 2,200 jobs per month gained in 2022 and many more than the 800 jobs per month is added between 2010 and February 2020. 

However, CBIA President and CEO Chris DiPentima said there are still too many job openings. 

“The labor force is now the lowest it’s been since September 2021—down 16,700 in 2023 and down 45,800 over the last 12 months,” DiPentima said. “With 104,000 openings, it’s clear that the jobs are there—we need more people to join the workforce and fill those jobs.”

Some industries fared better than others.  

The transportation and warehousing sectors have seen strong numbers for years and the pandemic accelerated the shift to online shopping and delivery. These industries now represent 70,400 jobs in Connecticut and continue to grow,” CTDOL Office of Research Director Patrick Flaherty said. “As we reported last month, the construction industry hired early due to the warm weather this winter. That early hiring is still impacting sector numbers this month as well.”

Employment in the restaurant industry has fully recovered from the pandemic. In May 2019, the industry had 107,300 jobs (not seasonally adjusted), in May 2023, it had 109,200 jobs (not seasonally adjusted).

DiPentima said Connecticut is still “one of the few states that has yet to fully recover from the pandemic. It’s an ongoing concern that requires a commitment to enacting policies that will make Connecticut a more affordable and attractive place to live and work.”

Connecticut continues to see very low benefits filing with approximately 20,000 weekly unemployment claims. The unemployment rate last month was 3.7%.