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Office of Research
Glenn Marshall


February 2012 Data CT Unemployment Rate = 7.8% US Unemployment Rate = 8.3%

Connecticut adds another 4,900 Jobs; Unemployment Rate declines to 7.8 percent WETHERSFIELD, March 29, 2012 Connecticuts job market continues on its path to recovery expanding by 4,900 total nonfarm jobs, which follows a revised increase of 5,400 in January. The majority of the states industry sectors showed respectable gains in employment. It appears the regions mild winter continues to help job growth in Connecticut across many industries, including construction, manufacturing and trade, noted Andy Condon, Director of the Office of Research. Unemployment continues to decline, although the strength of the move is diminished somewhat by the second consecutive monthly decline in our labor force. Nonfarm Jobs The Connecticut February 2012 total nonfarm job estimate increased by 4,900 positions to 1,633,800 or 0.3% over Januarys 2012 revised number. Since February 2011, the state has added 12,100 jobs, which represents 0.7% job growth. The preliminary January 2012 Connecticut jobs estimate of a 7,100 (0.4%) increase was revised downward to 5,400 (0.3%, 1,628,900). Connecticut nonfarm employment has attained a new highpoint in this recovery with the February 2012 estimate. At 1,633,800, the February 2012 level now surpasses the previous recovery highpoint of 1,631,100 jobs reached in April 2011. The three-month moving average of top line nonfarm employment, used to address volatility in the monthly sample estimates, has been in recovery highs for several months (see page 7). The three-month moving average may be useful in coming months to gauge pulled-forward weather effects on demand from the unseasonably warm winter. Five of Connecticuts ten employment major supersectors (includes the micro supersector of mining.*** The state now combines that small supersector - only a 500-800 employment level - with construction) had gains in February, while four had declines and one was unchanged. The two largest employing supersectors, trade, transportation, and utilities (2,200, 0.7%) and education and health services (2,200, 0.7%) had the largest over-the-month gains in February 2012. In both cases these gains were considered statistically significant. Trade, transportation, and utilities groupings were led higher by the trade components as transportation and utilities (0, 0.0%) were flat over the month. Retail trades monthly gain (1,600, 0.9%) was the most compelling and also considered statistically significant. Wholesale trade (600, 0.9%) was also positive this month. In the education and health services supersector (2,200, 0.7%), both categories contributed to monthly gains, but health care and social assistance provided the statistically important movement (1,900, 0.7%). Educational services was higher by 300 jobs (0.5%). The next largest job-increasing supersector was construction (800, 1.5%) and the closely-related mining (mainly gravel in the state) sector. Warmer weather has benefitted construction this winter and more specialty trades contractors have been active throughout. The professional and business services supersector also had an 800 job increase (0.4%) in February, with all gains coming from the professional, scientific, and technical services segment (900, 1.0%). Management of companies and enterprises was unchanged while administration and support and waste management services sectors were slightly lower (-100, -0.1%). The manufacturing supersector added 300 positions, with slight gains coming from both durable (200, 0.2%) and non-durable goods (100, 0.2%).

The four job declining supersectors in February all had job losses of less than a thousand. The most significant supersector decliner was government (-600, -0.3%), as a result of losses in local government (-600, -0.4%), which also accounts for Indian gaming and tribal government. Both state and federal government had no seasonally adjusted movement in February. The leisure and hospitality supersector pulled back by 500 positions (-0.4%) while restaurants and hotels were lower by 700 positions (-0.6%). Meanwhile, the arts, entertainment, and recreation actually added 200 jobs (0.8%). The information supersector dropped 200 jobs (-0.6%) and the financial activities supersector relinquished another 100 positions (-0.1%). Since February 2011, financial activities continues to be the largest declining supersector in percentage terms (-4,100, -3.0%), while government is the largest job loser in magnitude (-5,000, -2.1%). Other services were unchanged in February. Recession recovery: Connecticut has now recovered 39,100, or 33.3% of the 117,500 total nonfarm jobs lost in the March 2008 to February 2010 recession (-6.9% of total nonfarm payrolls). February 2010 is now the new seasonally adjusted recession trough. Two years into the recovery, total private sector job recovery from the Connecticut employment recessionary period is farther along than overall nonfarm growth. The private sector has reclaimed 48,600 (44.1%) of the 110,200 private jobs lost over the 23-month decline. The job gain in the private sector in February 2012 was 5,500 (0.4%) and is now up a solid 17,100 positions (1.2% growth in total private employment) over the year. Labor Market Areas (LMAs): Five of the six major Connecticut Labor Market Areas (LMAs) displayed job growth in February 2012. LMAs are estimated and seasonally adjusted separately from the statewide numbers. The HartfordWest Hartford-East Hartford LMA increased by 4,100 (0.8%) and led all labor areas in February job gains. The Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford LMA also led in labor market job gains over the year, with 6,900 positions (1.3%). The smaller Danbury LMA led monthly gains in percentage terms (700, 1.0%) and outperformed all major labor markets in job growth in percentage terms over the year (1,700, 2.6%). The New Haven LMA shed 500 jobs and was the only major labor market to lose jobs in February 2012. Hours and Earnings: The workweek for employees in the private sector, not seasonally adjusted, averaged 33.8 hours in February 2012, up 0.2 hours (0.6%) from the February 2011 figure of 33.6 hours. Average hourly earnings at $28.31, not seasonally adjusted, are now down four cents or -0.1% lower than last February. The resultant average private sector weekly pay estimate was $956.88, up just $4.32, or 0.5% over the year. This compares unfavorably to the change in the Consumer Price Index For All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) since last February (2.9%). Information for the manufacturing production workweek and earnings can be found in the table section of this release under the Hours and Earnings data category. Labor Force Data Connecticuts unemployment rate was measured at 7.8% for February 2012. This is two-tenths lower than January 2012 (8.0%), and one and four-tenths percentage points lower than February 2011 (9.2%). The unemployment rate in Connecticut has not been this low since March 2009 when it was 7.7%. Connecticuts seasonally adjusted labor force measured 1,914,300 in February 2012, down 7,500 over the year (-0.4%), and down 1,700 (-0.1%) from January 2012. Connecticuts labor force peaked a year ago in February 2011, with an all time high of 1,921,800, seasonally adjusted. Unemployment: Based on the household survey, the estimate of people unemployed, seasonally adjusted, was down 4,000 from January 2012 to 148,500 and the unemployment rate decreased two-tenths to 7.8 percent, which is below the national rate of 8.3 percent. Last February, Connecticuts unemployment rate was 9.2 percent. Average weekly initial unemployment claims in February 2012 for first-time filers decreased firmly over the month by 893 (17.2%) to 4,298, and were down 759 claims from this time last year, or -15.0%. The nonfarm employment estimate, derived from a survey of businesses, is a measure of jobs in the state; the unemployment rate, based on a household survey, is a measure of the work status of people who live in Connecticut. Overall, as the national and state economies recover, volatility in monthly numbers can be expected. Additionally, changes in methodology that culminated in March 2011 with the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

3 assuming complete responsibility for estimating all states monthly nonfarm job counts, have contributed to the month-tomonth variability in the numbers. Jobs estimates are best understood in the context of their movement over several months rather than observed changes in a single months estimate.
*** The very small Mining supersector (500-800 employment) has now passed seasonal adjustment in CT for the first time. The tiny mining supersector is gravel-related in CT and is very closely linked to the Construction (50,000 employment range) supersector here in CT. In this case, CT DOL is combining mining with construction when making the industry supersector diffusion comparison to keep an even 10 in the industry supersector assessment.

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