While employers added nearly 5,000 jobs and the unemployment rate dropped to a three-year low of 3.7% in May, Connecticut has not fully recovered its pre-pandemic totals, according to a Connecticut Department of Labor (DOL) report.
DOL Commissioner Danté Bartolomeo expressed optimism by the state’s “solid performance despite uncertainties that include interest rates and inflation,” adding that the “labor market remains competitive for employers — they are working hard to hire and retain their talent.”
Additionally, the April numbers were revised to 1,200 jobs added to payrolls, instead of an initially reported loss of 900. In total, the state has gained 18,400 jobs in 2023, averaging 3,700 jobs per month; and the unemployment rate fell slightly from the previous month’s 3.8%.
The supersectors that experienced growth were Leisure & Hospitality (+2,600); Trade, Transportation & Utilities (+1,700); Information (+400); Manufacturing (+200); Government (+200); Financial Activities (+100); Professional and Business Services (+100); and Other Services (+1,100). Only two supersectors — Educational & Health Services and Construction & Mining — saw a decrease totaling 1,400.
However, the state has yet to fully recover the jobs lost because of the pandemic — private sector employment is at 99.9%, while the state has recovered 97.9%. DOL affirms that only 200 more jobs are needed in the private sector to reach February 2020 levels. While this is an encouraging trend, Connecticut’s recovery has been prolonged when compared to the rest of the nation, which surpassed its pre-pandemic job totals last summer.
According to the report, employment in the restaurant industry has fully recovered from the pandemic with 109,200 jobs (not seasonally adjusted); to compare, the industry had 107,300 jobs in May 2019. Meanwhile, the report shows that the state continues to see very low benefits filing with approximately 20,000 weekly unemployment claims. Employers, also, currently have more than 100,000 jobs available.
“We have seen job growth slow later in the year in recent years, and that may happen again in 2023,” said Patrick Flaherty, Director of the Office of Research at DOL. “However, the labor market is strong as we approach the summer.”