For the second consecutive month, Connecticut’s unemployment rate (3.5%) is below the national average (3.8%), while state employers added 3,200 jobs, according to the Department of Labor (DOL) September Jobs Report. The unemployment rate is the lowest since July 2019.
Patrick Flaherty, director of research for DOL, highlighted that the number of unemployed is at a 20-year low with the state having fewer than 22,000 weekly unemployment filers.
“We had good job growth in September and other economic indicators remain strong,” Flaherty said. “With unemployment so low, bringing more people into the labor force will help businesses and the economy continue to grow.”
The private sector, meanwhile, maintained its significant benchmark of regaining 100.6% of jobs lost during the April 2020 COVID shutdown, which was officially achieved in August (albeit nearly a year after the nation fully recovered). However, the August Jobs Report was notably revised from an estimated 2,100 jobs added to only 100. The DOL explains that the drastic swing was “primarily due to the timing of school openings” and caused by “school employment data.” In total, the private sector’s employment increased by 700 jobs in September.
Despite the low unemployment rate, DOL Commissioner Danté Bartolomeo emphasized that there are still “tens of thousands of jobs across industry sectors” and Connecticut employers are “only constrained by the tight labor market.” He also noted how October — being Disability Employment Awareness Month — is a perfect opportunity to “highlight the untapped potential in workers with different abilities, a community that often has difficult breaking into the job market.”
Driving the growth in September came from six of the 10 industry supersectors, including Government (+2,500); Other Services (+1,100); Manufacturing (+900); Educational and Health Services (+700); Leisure and Hospitality (+400); and Information (+100).
Conversely, the four industries that declined were Trade, Transportation & Utilities (-1,200); Construction and Mining (-900); Professional and Business Services (-300); and Financial Activities (-100).
While Connecticut’s unemployment rate and 20-year low of the number of unemployed are to be celebrated, the state has some significant losses looming on the horizon. According to the DOL’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) page, Walmart’s Norwalk location will lay off 255 employees by December, while more than 500 employees of Hartford’s CVS Health will be laid off by year’s end. Meanwhile, earlier this year, Frontier Communications officially announced it will be moving its corporate headquarters from Norwalk to Dallas, Texas — which is another chapter in the corporate “exodus” the state has experienced in the past 20 years.
Additionally, Hartford is among the worst cities regarding office delinquency rates in the nation, which could feed into, what economists call, the “urban doom loop” scenario that could have financial ramifications across the whole state.
Again, the state is trending in the right direction — but there are still improvements to bolster the economy, as evidenced by its 47th rank (1st being best/50th being worst) in the Tax Foundation’s 2023 State Business Tax Climate Index.