State drops 1,800 jobs in December as laborforce shrinks

The Connecticut Labor Department reported employers shed 1,800 jobs in December and the unemployment rate fell to 8.6 percent.

But backup the bus of dismay, the numbers might be wrong. According to the Labor Department, a survey of about 95 percent of Connecticut businesses that’s running about six months behind  is showing the state had 10,000 more jobs through the first six months of this year, than the monthly reports reflect.

While the unemployment rate dropped to 8.6 percent from 8.9 percent, the fall was due largely from people who quite the workforce and remains a concern raising questions about population flight or people just abandoning hope of landing work.

“The state’s trend of a declining labor force continues for the sixth month in a row and was the primary factor
behind the declining unemployment rate in December,” said Andy Condon, Director of Research. “With the arrival
of the December preliminary jobs report it is apparent that the rate of job growth slowed considerably in the last half
of the year, however, we expect the level of jobs in the state to be revised upward when the benchmark is complete
in March.”

Condon explained a quarterly report of almost all businesses has been tracking higher numbers in Connecticut.

If December’s results hold, the state has wiped out the gains of last year leaving id down 100 jobs compared to 2011. The biggest losses in December were felt in retail, down 1,600 with the accommodation/food and administrative support each losing 800 jobs. Financial industries cut 200 positions.

On a positive note, construction added 400 jobs and manufacturing 800 in the month. Both sectors, however, were down for the year.

Rob Varnon