The state’s economy added 2,100 private sector jobs last month, replacing all the jobs lost during the pandemic. The additional jobs brought Connecticut’s unemployment rate down to 3.6%, lower than the national rate of 3.7%.
It also means the private sector has added 267,700 since April of 2020, eclipsing the 266,000 lost during the pandemic.
“There are now more private sector jobs in Connecticut than there were immediately prior to the start of the pandemic,” Gov. Ned Lamont said in a statement. “Employers are continuing to post new job openings every day and I am encouraged by Connecticut’s strength and recovery.”
The August growth follows a strong July jobs report — although the July figure was revised downward to 1,900 additional jobs..
“The August job gains are good to see, especially on the heels of the positive July report,” Connecticut Business and Industry Association President and CEO Chris DiPentima said in a statement.
The Department of Labor noted growth in several sectors, including educational and health services, which led the way with 800 new jobs; professional and business services, 700 jobs; construction and mining, 500 jobs; trade, transportation and utilities, 500 jobs; manufacturing, 400 jobs; and information, 200 jobs.
“It appears that Connecticut’s economy is reaching a new normal with sustained low unemployment rates and steady monthly job growth,” DOL Director of Research Patrick Flaherty said. “With job gains across a diverse range of industries, Connecticut is well-positioned to weather ongoing pressure from inflation and interest rates.”
Some sectors did see a reduction, led by other services, with 400 fewer jobs; followed by leisure and hospitality, 300 jobs; financial activities, 200 jobs, and government, 100 jobs.
Even with the growth, employers said they continue to have a hard time looking for workers.
DiPentima said that businesses have added 11,000 jobs this year but the labor force, or the number of people working or looking for work, shrunk by 16,000 over the same time period.
“There is still work to be done as Connecticut still trails much of the country in job growth since the pandemic and even going back to the Great Recession,” DiPentima said, adding Connecticut companies still have 91,000 unfilled positions.
He pointed to a CBIA survey of businesses that found 81% of employers reported difficulty hiring or retaining employees, and 46% called the labor shortage the biggest threat to economic growth.
Businesses said high costs for housing and childcare were some of the hurdles to recruiting and retaining employees. “
“Employers are doing their part—it’s time for policymakers to do theirs and help build an economy that provides opportunities for everyone in Connecticut,” DiPentima said.
State Labor Commissioner Dante Bartolomeo agreed that hurdles to hiring could slow down the momentum.
“Employers are still constrained by the tight labor market though, and the inability to hire may curtail growth and expansion,” she said in a statement.
On a positive note for the economy in Connecticut and nationwide, inflation appears to continue its cooling trend.
The Consumer Price Index did tick up in August, but only to an annual rate of 3.7%. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said the uptick was largely driven by fuel and housing costs.