Latest jobs report has economists saying Connecticut economy is in crisis mode

Connecticut’s economy took another heavy hit in November with a loss of 3,500 jobs, according to the state Department of Labor.

November’s employment data marked the fourth month out of the last five that Connecticut has lost jobs, according to Donald Klepper-Smith, chief economist and director of research for New Haven-based DataCore Partners. Even Andy Condon, director of Labor Department’s Office of Research, acknowledged that “job growth in 2017 has slowed significantly since peaking in the second quarter.”

The state’s unemployment rate edged up one-tenth of a percentage point to 4.6 percent in November. That is the highest unemployment rate in New England, according to Pete Gioia, an economist with the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, who called the state’s job losses “a full blown crisis.”

“We’ve lost 15,300 jobs since June,” Gioia said in a statement. “It’s difficult to define the glass as half full when we see continued job losses like this. We need bold reforms to jump start our stalled economy, and we need a retooling of our jobs pipeline.”

The lone morsel of positive news in the latest jobs report came from a revision of the October job report. Initially reported as a loss of 6,600 jobs, the October data was revised to reflect a decline of 6,200,

Klepper-Smith said given the currently available economic data, Connecticut is not likely to recover all the jobs it lost in the last recession until late 2020.

“The state's overall economy has weakened considerably since mid-2017, (and is) now lying at the edge of recession,” he said. “An honest and objective assessment of the collective data says we now have to be concerned about the prospect of a more serious economic decline in 2018 after eight years of domestic economic recovery. We're more apt to see the onset of a domestic recession.”

The biggest employment losses came in the leisure and hospitality industry, which lost an estimated 2,000 jobs in November. Employment levels in the professional and business services sector dropped by 1,400 job last month, according to the Labor Department.

Four of the state’s six labor market areas saw job losses, The New Haven area lost 700 jobs in November.

The Danbury area added 400 jobs in November while Waterbury and its surrounding communities added 100.