The state lost 2,000 jobs in March in industries primarily impacted by the region’s three nor’easters, according to a report by the state Department of Labor.
Job losses were seen in trade, transportation, utilities and leisure and hospitality.
“March’s decline of 2,000 jobs was the first down month the state has seen since last October,” stated Andy Condon, director of the Department of Labor’s office of research, in a press release. “The largest declines were in retail trade and accommodations and food services, both of which may have been adversely affected by the nor’easters last month.”
However, the number of state unemployed residents was estimated at 86,381 down 527 from February, slightly lowering the unemployment rate to 4.5 percent in March.
The state has recovered 80.4 percent or 95,8000 jobs of the 119,100 seasonally adjusted jobs lost in the recession that began in March 2008 and ended in February 2010. The state needs an additional 23,300 jobs to reach an employment expansion. The state’s private sector has now recovered 101.3 percent of the private sector jobs lost in that downturn and is fully recovered.
Economists were quick to point to six consecutive months of labor force decline as proof of slow economic growth, and called for lawmakers to focus on job creation.
“While this is only the first time since October we have had a job loss in the monthly reports, the labor force is shrinking at a time when we need people,” Peter Gioia stated in a press release following the DOL report. Gioia is an economist with the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.
“We are at a time in Connecticut when we should be unlocking— not restraining— the state’s economic potential,” he also said. “There is a lack of focus at the state capitol.”
Gioia said the national and regional economies continue to see solid growth and Connecticut should be able to capture some of that, but isn’t. He also said lawmakers should not be passing more employer mandates that make it difficult to create new jobs and more costly to operate a business.
The New Haven labor market saw the largest declines and shed 1,700 jobs. Gains were seen in the Hartford and Danbury labor markets, according to the DOL report.