CT Unemployment Rate Highest in New England, Higher Since Year Began

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,

new englandThirty-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.2000px-Bureau_of_labor_statistics_logo.svg

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.

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CT’s Unemployment Rate Drop During Past Year Ranks #17 in U.S.

Between August 2013 and August 2014, Connecticut’s unemployment rate dropped 1.2 percent, ranking the state #17 in the U.S. in the percentage reduction in unemployment during the year-long period.  The data, compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), indicated that Connecticut’s unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted, dropped from 7.8 percent to 6.6 percent. Connecticut’s top 20 finish among the states outpaced the New England states of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, but was slightly behind Rhode Island and Massachusetts, as well as New York and New Jersey.

The largest reductions in unemployment during the 12-month period came in Illinois (2.5 percent decrease), Nevada (2.2 percent), Rhode Island (1.9 percent), Ohio (18 percent) Colorado and Indiana (1.7 perce298px-Bureau_of_labor_statistics_logo.svgnt), Michigan and Pennsylvania (1.6 percent).  Also faring slightly better than Connecticut in reducing their state unemployment rate over the year were California, Idaho, New Hersey, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Washington, Kentucky and New York.  North Carolina was tied with Connecticut.

In 45 states and the District of Columbia, the unemployment rate dropped between August 2013 and August 2014.  In three states, the unemployment rate climbed during the year – Alabama, West Virginia and Alaska - and in two states, the rate remained unchanged – Virginia and Wyoming.

Connecticut was also one of 27 states deemed to have "statistically significant" changes in their unemployment rate, according to the federal agency.  The BLS data was updated as of September 19, 2014 for the 12-month period, and subsequently made available on the agency's website.

Among Connecticut's neighboring states in the region, according to the data, the unemployment rate as of August 2014 is higher in Rhode Island (7.7 percent), the same as Connecticut in New Jersey (6.6 percent), and lower in New York (6.4 percent),  Massachusetts (5.8 percent), Maine (5.6 percent), New Hampshire (4.4 percent) and Vermont (4.1 percent).

The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor is the principal Federal agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy. Its mission is to collect, analyze, and disseminate essential economic information to support public and private decision-making. As an independent statistical agency, BLS serves its diverse user communities by providing products and services that are objective, timely, accurate, and relevant, the agency's website explains.

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