Conn. unemployment rises as government cuts jobs
HARTFORD, Conn.—The unemployment rate in Connecticut jumped to 8.1 percent in June as weak job creation continued to make it difficult for those out of work to find employment, the state Department of Labor said Thursday.
The private sector added a robust 5,000 jobs in June, but government -- including localities that are home to the state's two Indian-run casinos -- reduced jobs in the public sector by 3,600. Overall, 1,400 jobs were created in June.
Since June 2011, the state's job market has added 8,800 positions, a weak half-percent increase.
"Overall job growth is slow, though the private sector continues to show a decent recovery," said Andy Condon, director of the Department of Labor's office of research. "Unfortunately, the jump in our unemployment rate indicates we are not growing jobs fast enough to satisfy the need in our economy."
The state's labor market reflects the weak recovery nationally. Net job growth in the United States last month was 80,000 -- only about half of what's needed to keep pace with working-age population growth -- prompting economists across the spectrum to call job creation weak.
Peter Gioia, an economist for the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, said the net 8,800 jobs created in Connecticut in the last year is the result of job-seekers actively looking for work.
"What we have here is really a mixed picture, but probably a picture that's a little better than we might have expected considering the very tepid numbers that we've seen on the federal level," he said.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in a news release that the number of job-seekers "means people are increasingly confident that there are good jobs available."
A preliminary count of 1,400 new jobs in May was revised to no change over April's numbers.
The unemployment rate in June rose from 7.8 percent in May and was the largest monthly increase following a more modest increase in May and holding steady or falling in several previous months.
However, the rate has fallen from a high of 9.4 percent, where it was stuck for five months, from August through December 2010.
Condon said government, particularly at the local level, continues to struggle as tax revenue falls because of the weak economy and high rate of joblessness. About 80 percent of government job losses were at the local level.
Schools also laid off support staff, bus drivers and other workers at the end of the school year, which led to an increase in unemployment in June, he said. Schools typically rehire the workers in late August at the start of the school year.