Job numbers published by the Connecticut Department of Labor show Connecticut lost 1,600 jobs in February, mostly from the private sector.
The private sector saw a loss of 1,500 jobs, which DOL said may be attributed to poor weather. “Much of the job declines in February came from industries that can be weather affected and it should be noted that that the survey reference week occurred during a particularly cold and snowy period.”
Jobs related to leisure and hospitality – such as restaurants and hotels – saw the biggest decline in employment, followed by jobs in the transportation and financial sectors.
But the winter weather may not be enough to explain Connecticut’s poor year-over-year job growth.
Connecticut’s final employment survey of 2016 showed the state lost 200 jobs for the entire year, essentially remaining flat. Meanwhile, neighboring Massachusetts gained 56,000 jobs over the course of 2016 and an additional 13,000 in the month of January alone.
While nationally job growth has been 1.5 percent, Connecticut has the slowest job growth in New England, according to Don Klepper-Smith, chief economist for DataCore Partners LLC in New Haven.
Connecticut has yet to recover the jobs lost during the 2008-2009 recession and has shown some of the slowest economic growth in the nation.
Klepper-Smith told the Wall Street Journal that Connecticut may never fully recover from the recession. “In all probability, Connecticut is not going to get back to its prior job peak.”
Connecticut has only recovered 77 percent of the jobs lost during the recession, while neighboring states have all recovered to and grown past those levels. Nationally, the U.S. returned to pre-recession employment levels in 2014.
Although the unemployment rate in Connecticut had been showing a small decline over the course of 2016, February saw an uptick to 4.7 percent.