March 20, 2014

Economist: Expect CT job growth, despite 4Q setback

Steven Lanza, economist, University of Connecticut

Despite January's steep job losses, Connecticut will likely add up to 18,000 new jobs this year, UConn economist Steven P. Lanza predicts.

In UConn's spring issue of The Connecticut Economy, Lanza said a predicted acceleration in national GDP growth should help the state add between 13,000 and 18,000 jobs in 2014.

Lanza's prediction comes about a week after the state Department of Labor revealed Connecticut lost 10,400 jobs in January and 2,700 jobs during the last three months of 2013. Poor winter weather contributed to those job losses, which may temporarily slow the state's economic recovery, Lanza wrote.

The fourth-quarter dip signaled, Lanza wrote, the end of a second and smaller wave of job gains since the 2008 recession.

A recent Wall Street Journal survey of economists around the country revealed an average expectation of higher national GDP growth in 2014, with slightly poorer expectation for the first quarter. Overall, that bodes well for Connecticut getting over its fourth-quarter setback, Lanza wrote.

Based on the survey, he predicted that Connecticut will likely add somewhere between 13,000 and 18,000 net jobs this year.

The reported loss of 2,700 nonfarm jobs during the final three months of 2013 took dent out — but were not enough to derail — gains in the year's prior quarters. In all, 2013 ended with a net increase of 12,800 more workers on company payrolls.

CBIA finds confidence improving

Meanwhile, the Connecticut Business & Industry Association released its fourth-quarter survey of business owners, which found that 38 percent expect their company to improve, up from 36 percent in the third quarter.

The recent survey also revealed a drop in pessimism, with 13 percent predicting worsening conditions, compared to 23 percent in the previous quarter.

And 64 percent think the state economy will remain stable or improve, up from 61 percent.

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