September 20, 2012

CT unemployment back up to 9%

HBJ file photo
HBJ file photo

Connecticut's job picture is getting ugly again.

The state's unemployment rate shot up again in August to 9 percent – where it was in April 2011 -- as the private sector shed an alarming 6,300 jobs, state labor regulators said Thursday.

The leisure and hospitality industry, which Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is trying to boost through an aggressive tourism campgain, took the biggest hit with 3,100 job losses, according to fresh data from the Connecticut Department of Labor.

Overall, the state lost 6,800 jobs in August, which marked the fourth month this year that Connecticut's employment rolls shrank.

The first eight months of 2012 have now produced job growth of just 1,300 positions, below last year's pace of 8,000 through August.

The unemployment rate increased from 8.5 percent to 9 percent, far outpacing the U.S. unemployment rate of 8.1 percent.

State labor officials, who prepared the labor report using payroll job estimates and estimates of employment and unemployment rates, say they still remain skeptical of some of the jobs data, but they admit Connecticut's employment picture is getting grimmer.

Malloy said he too is skeptical of the jobless numbers.

"As I said last month, I'm skeptical about these numbers," Malloy said in a written statement. "However, I am well aware that we continue to battle strong headwinds at the national and international levels. We've also recently learned that the recession was far worse than we thought and had a far deeper impact than we understood at the time. And I've said time and again that we're not going to reverse 22 years of job stagnation in 20 months.

Four of Connecticut's 10 employment supersectors showed job increases in August, while six supersectors declined.

Growing supersectors in August were led by education and health services. Healthcare and social assistance added jobs, while educational services had a slight loss.

A continuing healthcare strike, which has impacted 700 workers, was also calculated into the August estimate, officials said.

The arts, entertainment, and recreation and the accommodation and food services components also combined for large monthly job losses, the labor agency said.

The trade, transportation, and utilities supersector had the next biggest job loss, while retail trade experienced a large decline.

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