Connecticut can work, it just doesn’t seem to be right now. The Connecticut Department of Labor reported Thursday on the newest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics employment numbers for the month of October. The results are not encouraging.
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The state economy shed 7,200 jobs in the month of October, and September’s employment totals were revised down to reflect that the state lost 6,600 jobs, rather than the originally reported 5,200. While Connecticut has enjoyed an overall job increase of 3,200 for the year, the recent downward trajectory is disconcerting.
Somewhat paradoxically, the state’s unemployment rate actually improved 0.3 percentage points, up to 5.1 percent. However, with fewer total jobs and because Connecticut’s unemployment rate is still worse than the national average, the state’s improved unemployment rate is a hollow comfort.
This is the fourth straight month of job losses. Connecticut’s economy has, remarkably, yet to recover from the recent recession. As the Department of Labor noted, the state has regained only 69 percent of the 119,100 seasonally-adjusted jobs lost during the downturn.
New priorities by state and municipal officials should emphasize growth. While the state has a spending problem, the constant impulse is to chase revenue. Too many forget that when a state chases revenue, it often chases revenue away. The state needs strong fiscal reforms, to eliminate such onerous barriers to entry for workers as certain occupational licenses, and continued examination of obsolete regulations. Gov. Dannel Malloy and the next legislature have a great opportunity to make sure that Connecticut’s economy is healthy and welcoming to job growth. Hopefully they can seize that opportunity and put an end to jobs reports such as these.
Connecticut wants to work. It is time to let it.