Conn. workers finally get their hours back, but not the pay

The State Labor Department, in its monthly Economic Outlook, said Connecticut workers are finally putting in the same number of hours per week that they did in 2007, before the recession, but pay rates have lagged inflation.

According to the report, Connecticut workers averaged 34.3 hours a week on the job in December, slightly higher than the 34.2 hours they averaged in 2007.  The average in the U.S. in December was 34.9 hours.

Hourly pay in December was $28.35 for all sectors, including finance, which is 3.7 percent higher than it was five years ago, when the average was $27.34. However, the department noted that the inflation rate for that same period was 9.7 percent, leaving many workers feeling like they’re making less.

Part of the reason wages have lagged is that workers are more productive as businesses have each staff member take on more functions and the department found that productivity grew by 4.1 percent in 2010 alone.

The department sees a silver lining in this data, theorizing that as hours return to pre-recession levels, pay and job creation could accelerate.

Rob Varnon