Slight Decline in State Unemployment Rate

Connecticut labor officials said on Thursday that unemployment in the state declined slightly in September as the number of jobs rose.

The unemployment rate dropped to 8.9 percent in September from 9 percent in August.

Labor officials said Thursday that preliminary estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics show Connecticut's job market stabilized and employers added 2,000 jobs in September.

Andy Condon, director of the Office of Research at the state Department of Labor, said changes in employment and unemployment estimates have returned to more typical levels after a summer in which numbers swung wildly.

The unemployment rate jumped sharply in July, though jobs were added. Unemployment rose slightly in August.

“Every month, whether it’s at the national or state level, we look to the unemployment numbers as an indicator of our overall recovery.  For the last two months, that data has been questionable at best.  And the data is being questioned in several states, by members of both parties,” Gov. Dannel Malloy said.

Malloy said the only thing the numbers made clearer is how conflicting the data continues to be. 

“Yes, the divide between the employer’s survey and the household survey has narrowed.  But they still tell two stories that can’t both be true,” Malloy said. “We’ve learned over the past few months that the economic crash of 2008 was worse than anyone realized, which is why it’s taking us longer to climb out of the hole than any of us would like.”

Because of the unprecedented employment changes reported in July and August, it could take several months for the unemployment rate to return to its prior trend path, Condon said.

“But it’s also important to remember that we’re making some progress. We are making smarter investments in industries that are poised for growth, such as bioscience, digital media and finance. Long term, we will be in a better position to compete once the recovery really picks up steam. And employers are telling us that they added 2,000 jobs this month.  These are all positive steps,” Malloy said. “My administration is committed to working every day to create the good paying jobs with good benefits that our residents need and deserve.”

Condon said it is likely that we will see significant upward revisions to nonfarm jobs this year during the annual benchmark process early in 2013, as many as 9,000 to 10,000 jobs. 

Connecticut has recovered 31,400, or 26.7 percent, of the 117,500 total nonfarm jobs lost in the March 2008 to February 2010, according to the state Department of Labor.  The private sector has regained 42,600 of the 110,200 private jobs lost in that same recessionary period.

The numbers are also divided by geography in the state.

The Norwich-New London area gained 1,000 jobs and the Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford area gained 700 jobs.

The Danbury area lost 700 jobs, the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk area lost 400 jobs, the New Haven area lost 200 jobs and the Waterbury area lost 100 jobs.

The workweek for employees in the private sector averaged 34.1 hours in September 2012, which is higher than in August, when it was 33.9 hours.

The Department of Labor also calculated average wages: $28.13 per hour or $959.23 per week.

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