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Connecticut Unemployment Decreases

Posted on July 6, 2010

For the fifth consecutive month, Connecticut added jobs to its economy, which now represents a total of 14,700 new jobs since December 2009 and a decrease in Connecticut unemployment.

Although three of the state’s 10 major industry sectors did show job gains, the majority of this increase was the result of Census jobs.

The increase brings the state’s nonfarm employment for May to 1,622,800, and the unemployment rate ticked down slightly to 8.9 percent. On a seasonally adjusted basis, this represents a decrease of 8,000 jobs over the year, when nonfarm employment for May 2009 totaled 1,630,800.

“While it is important to note that the Census jobs are temporary, we have now seen five consecutive months of job gains,” Governor M. Jodi Rell said. “Those nearly 15,000 new jobs are bringing more financial security to Connecticut families who have struggled through this recession.”

“With five months of positive employment growth, this may be the best indicator yet that we have slowly begun a certain turning point toward recovery,” noted Labor Statistics Supervisor Salvatore DiPillo. “However, job growth will continue to be hard fought, and we may very well see months when the employment numbers show little inclination to move upward. Over the course of this recession, Connecticut has lost more than 103,000 jobs, and while we have recovered significant ground since the beginning of this year, the state continues its struggle to regain its footing and return to the peak employment rates of March 2008.”

Seasonally adjusted, in May Connecticut showed an overall increase of 5,200 jobs in nonfarm employment, with three of the state’s 10 major industry sectors showing gains, three showing losses, and the remainder staying relatively unchanged. Much of May’s job gains were due to an increase in temporary federal Census workers. This trend reflects that of the nation; of May’s 431,000 national job gains, 411,000 were the result of Census positions.

Over the month, the largest job gain in May was in found in the government sector, up 5,800, with most of these in federal government as a result of the Census hiring. Gains were also found in professional and business services, up 2,800 jobs, while educational and health services showed an increase of 2,100. The biggest decline was in leisure and hospitality, down 2,600 jobs, along with losses in construction, down 1,300, and financial activities, 1,000 fewer jobs. Changes in other sectors were minor.

Overall, as the national and state economies enter a turning point, volatility in monthly numbers can be expected. Jobs estimates are best understood in the context of their movement over several months rather than observed changes in a single month’s estimate. With this in mind, while most industry sectors still show employment losses over the year, there are signs that these are
easing and since the end of 2009 and the beginning of this year, several sectors have added jobs.

Leading these growth sectors is professional and business services, which has been steady adding jobs since the beginning of 2010, after losing nearly 14 percent of its jobs between the beginning of 2008 and the end of 2009. With 8,900 additional jobs since January, many of which are in the employment services industry, including temporary help agencies, there are hopeful signs that employers are making tentative steps to increase staffing.

Employment gains in the government sector have also accelerated in the past few months. Since December of last year, this sector has added 5,700 jobs to total 251,900. Temporary workers hired by the federal government to conduct the decennial Census counted for nearly all these gains. And while the number of federal employees is up 4,900 from last May, state government employment is down 2,700 from last year, the result of a retirement incentive in June and July of 2009. Employment in local government, at 160,400, is down just 400 over the year, but down approximately 3,000 from 2008, an effect of tight municipal budgets.

The educational and health services sector added 4,200 jobs since the end of last year and is up 6,900 from May 2009. With 4,700 of these gains in healthcare and social assistance and 2,200 in educational services, employment in this sector has proved consistently resilient to the effects of the recession.

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