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DOL: CT's 10-yr jobs outlook behind U.S. average

BY Joe Cooper

9/4/2018
PHOTO | Contributed
PHOTO | Contributed
Connecticut's workforce is expected to increase at a slower pace compared to the rest of the nation between 2016 to 2026, a new report says.

The latest monthly issue of the Connecticut Economic Digest, a joint publication by the state Department of Labor (DOL) and the state Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), says employment in the state is projected to increase by 111,164 jobs from 2016 to 2026. The 5.9 percent uptick is lower than the projected 7.4 percent increase nationwide.

Labor officials said Connecticut's modest projected job gains are limited by the state's population and labor force growth.

Still, Connecticut's population is expected to grow slightly by 2026, although it's projected to fall for residents under 25 years old and increase for those 55 and older. That is expected to raise the need for healthcare services and workers and lower demand for educational services, the report says.

In Connecticut, where unemployment remains at 4.4 percent, health care is projected to add the most jobs through 2026 -- 21,200 -- driven by the state's aging population, DOL says. That represents a 9.5 percent increase vs. 2016 healthcare employment levels.

Other sectors with expected job gains include professional, scientific and technical services, which is expected to increase by 12,341 jobs, or 12.7 percent, and social assistance, up 11,166 jobs, or 17.7 percent, through 2026.

The need for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)-related jobs in architecture and engineering is expected to rise 16.7 percent and computer and mathematical employment will increase by 13 percent over the decade.

Manufacturing is projected to add 10,197 jobs, up 6.5 percent, over the period. That represents a major improvement in the market, the report says, as manufacturing jobs were on the decline during the early 1990s and nearly flat since 2010. The local projected gains are expected while manufacturing jobs are expected to decline nationally, DOL said.

Despite Connecticut's manufacturing rebound, the report says the sector's growth will be challenged by its aging population.

"Connecticut will need to produce enough manufacturing workers to take the projected new jobs and replace workers who will retire before 2026," the report said.

Meantime, the state government sector is expected to shrink over the next decade with a 5.6 percent decline in jobs. Local government employment is expected to remain flat and federal government employment is projected to increase by 1.1 percent over the period.

By 2026, the majority of job gains will be in positions that require more than a high school diploma. Roughly 43 percent of the employment increase is in jobs that require a bachelor's degree or more.

The 10-year workforce estimates were created using June data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report is produced every two years to estimate the direction of labor markets nationwide.