Blue Collar Jobs Climbing Back in CT, Data Shows

The number of blue collar jobs is slowly climbing in Connecticut, up 500 jobs in February from January, and 1,600 from December, straddling the new year.  The February total of 223,400 reflects an increase of 7,200 jobs - from 216,200 - since February 2016, according to data from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), focused on the manufacturing, construction and mining/logging sectors.

Nationally, the numbers were moving in the opposite direction.  February is described as a dismal month for jobs overall, particularly for jobs in blue collar sectors. Employment in the construction, manufacturing, and the combined mining and logging sectors decreased by 0.14 percent, or 29,800 jobs nationwide, the CEPR analysis details.

In Connecticut, the manufacturing jobs sector has seen an increase from 156,500 in February 2016 to 161,400, in February 2019, reflecting the third consecutive month of growth.  Construction stayed nearly even, with a dip of 100 jobs from January to February this year.  That month’s 62,000 jobs in the sector is well ahead of the 58,400 jobs in December 2016. 

Across the country, the construction sector lost 31,000 jobs in February, with the biggest losses in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. That region saw a loss of 16,000 jobs, collectively. Weather is a possible explanation, as these states were impacted by Winter Storm Maya.  Manufacturing jobs edged up, by just 4,000 jobs.

CEPR’s Blue Collar Jobs Tracker indicates a .34% increase overall in Connecticut during the past six months – in manufacturing .03% and in construction .91%, according to the data.


Mid-Atlantic states saw a decline of 5,800 manufacturing jobs in February, with New York and Pennsylvania making up the bulk of the losses. The biggest drag on blue collar jobs nationally was construction. Employment in the sector fell by 31,000 jobs in February, bringing the three-month average in the sector to 12,670 jobs.

CEPR indicated that “if weather was a factor in the blue collar jobs slump, it will likely be corrected in the following month. However, if there is weakening in residential and nonresidential construction, and if the trade deficit resumes, we could see slower growth or even declines.”

Data utilized in the analysis is from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.