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January 12, 2022

Feds: Hartford region adding jobs faster than CT average

HBJ File Photo Downtown Hartford skyline.

An overview of the Hartford metro area’s economic health from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the capital region is adding back jobs faster than the state as a whole, though still more slowly than the U.S. on average.

The summary, published Jan. 4, calculated that, from Nov. 2020 to Nov. 2021, Greater Hartford’s jobless rate fell from 7.4% to 4.8%, at the same time Connecticut’s unemployment rate declined from 8.2% to 6%. Over the same interval, the U.S. jobless rate dropped from 6.4% to 3.9%.

On a more granular level, BLS researchers found that individual towns and cities are adding back jobs at a similar rate, though the extent of their recoveries appears to depend on how badly they were set back by the initial lockdowns of March and April 2020, in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hartford, for instance, saw its jobless rate dip from 13.5% in Nov. 2020 to 8% in Nov. 2021, while New Britain moved from 10.7% to 7.1% and East Hartford’s figures fell to 6.3% from 10.2%. West Hartford, on the other hand, ended Nov. 2020 with a much lower jobless rate of 5.7% and closed November 2021 at 3.7%.

For the purposes of the study, Hartford, Tolland and Middlesex counties were grouped together as the “Hartford” metro area.

The economic summary also indicates that some industries have bounced back faster than others. Sectors such as leisure and hospitality (up 11%), mining and construction (5.1%) and professional and business services (4.3%) all steadily added positions between the fall of 2020 and the fall of 2021, while the information (down 6.7%) and financial activities (-6.4%) industries shed workers.

BLS researchers did not give reasons for the disparity.

Additionally, the study found that rising prices for goods and services are hitting New England residents about as much as the rest of the country.

Consumers in New England were paying about 5.3% more for food in Nov. 2021 than they were in Nov. 2020, compared to a U.S. average increase of 6.1% over the same period.

One area where the region pulled away from the pack was energy, with New England consumer spending growing by 37.1% while the nation’s average increase was lower, at 33.3%.

That trend is likely attributable in part to the rise in gas prices during the latter half of 2021. Due to depressed production levels, some economists have predicted that the price of gas could rise to as high as $4 per gallon in some parts of the country this year before gradually coming back down.

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