Unemployment in Connecticut nudged upwards in March from a month earlier, but remained slightly below a year ago. The state’s jobless rate of 5.7 was higher than the national rate of 5.0 percent and the highest in New England. Nationwide, the regional and state unemployment rates were generally little changed in March, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- 21 states had unemployment rate decreases from February,
- 15 states including Connecticut had increases, and
- 14 states and the District of Columbia had no change,
Thirty-six states including Connecticut (and the District of Columbia) had unemployment rate decreases from a year earlier, 12 states had increases, and 2 states had no change.
The national jobless rate, 5.0 percent, was little changed from February and was 0.5 percentage point lower than in March 2015. Job growth occurred in retail trade, construction, and health care. Employment fell in manufacturing and mining.
Connecticut’s unemployment rate was 5.9 percent a year ago in March 2015, dropped to 5.5 percent by January and February of 2016, and climbed to 5.7 percent in March.
Overall in New England, the unemployment rate was 4.5 percent in March, compared with 5.2 percent in March 2015. Across the region, the unemployment rate has steadily declined during the past year. The rate was 4.6 percent in January and 4.5 percent in February, according to the BLS data.
Last month, the unemployment rate in Rhode Island was 5.4 percent, in Massachusetts was 4.4 percent, in Maine 3.4 percent, in Vermont 3.3 percent and in New Hampshire 2.6 percent.
The highest unemployment rates in the nation last month were in Alaska (6.6%), West Virginia (6.5%), D.C. (6.5%), Illinois (6.5%), Alabama (6.2%), New Mexico (6.2%), and Louisiana (6.1%).
South Dakota and New Hampshire had the lowest jobless rates in March, 2.5 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively, followed by Colorado, 2.9 percent.
“We are still struggling to come to terms with a stubborn new economic reality,” said economist Pete Gioia of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association. “We are adding back low-wage jobs at a much higher rate than high-paying jobs.”
Connecticut has now recovered 77 percent of jobs lost during the recession, CBIA reported, while the U.S. has recovered 161 percent of jobs lost during that same time, according to DataCore Partners.