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CTDOL: State Adds 13,300 Jobs in First Quarter but Pace Expected to Slow

The state added approximately 4,900 jobs in March, according to the latest jobs report released by the Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOL) on Thursday (March 18). Additionally, the February job estimates were revised to reflect an additional 2,600 jobs, bringing the 2024 first quarter total of 13,300 jobs gained. However, issues at the national level are expected to slow this growth. 

CTDOL’s Director of Research Partick Flaherty warns that despite the “strong jobs report” and that the state is keeping pace with the nation’s job growth, “we expect the pace will slow somewhat as the Federal Reserve continues to address national issues including inflation and interest rates.” 

Danté Bartolomeo, the commissioner of CTDOL, emphasized that the “first quarter of 2024 has produced strong, broad-based job growth and three consecutive months of labor force expansion.” She noted the competitive job market provides significant opportunities for often-overlooked groups, particularly people with disabilities and those returning from incarceration. 

Driving the growth this past month were increases in eight of the ten industry supersectors, including Leisure and Hospitality (+2,100); Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+1,300); Educational and Health Services (+1,000); Construction and Mining (+700); Manufacturing (+500); Government (+500); Other Services (+200); Financial Activities (+200). 

Furthermore, the Informational supersector remained unchanged and Professional and Business Services lost 1,600 jobs. 

All six major Connecticut Labor Market Areas (LMA) all delivered nonfarm industry employment growth in March with the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk LMA leading all regions with an increase of 1,800 (.4%) jobs. Followed by the New Haven LMA (+1,100), Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford LMA (+700), Danbury LMA, (+600), Norwich-New London-Westerly LMA (+400) and the Waterbury LMA (+200). 

Connecticut’s unemployment rate held steady at 4.5% for the second consecutive month, a 1.01% increase from the previous year. Approximately 25,000 individuals filed for unemployment benefits. The latest report also highlighted that the state’s labor force participation rate is at 64.6%, nearly two percentage points higher than the national average of 62.7%. 

Additionally, Connecticut has now regained 301,600, or 103.6%, of the 291,100 non-agricultural jobs that were lost during the government shutdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in March and April of 2020. 

The latest report comes just one day after Sikorsky announced it is laying off at least 400 workers, following the U.S. Army’s decision to cancel a new helicopter called the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft. Meanwhile, Walgreens also notified CTDOL last month that it will be closing a distribution center in Dayville eliminating over 300 jobs. 

The long-term impact of these job losses on Connecticut’s economic gains remains uncertain, but for now, the state’s solid job growth may help cushion these economic shocks. 

Meghan Portfolio

Meghan worked in the private sector for two decades in various roles in management, sales, and project management. She was an intern on a presidential campaign and field organizer in a governor’s race. Meghan, a Connecticut native, joined Yankee Institute in 2019 as the Development Manager. After two years with Yankee, she has moved into the policy space as Yankee’s Manager of Research and Analysis. When she isn’t keeping up with local and current news, she enjoys running–having completed seven marathons–and reading her way through Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels.

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