State unemployment improving ahead of election

NORTH BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– At Penn Globe manufacturing in North Branford they are working on a contract to replace all the street lamps on Nantucket Island. It’s just one of many jobs the small company has lined up. It’s helped boost the number of employees, and they expect to add more next year.

“We were in a downsizing mode, like everybody else back in 2010, and opportunities as the economy was improving for us to be able to add, now going from 12 to 15 people,” said Penn Globe President Marcia Lafemina.

The jobs picture for the entire state got considerably better last month with the labor department reporting that the state gained 11,500 jobs in September, and that the 3,600 job losses reported for August were a mistake, and only 1,200 jobs were lost that month.

Penn Globe did get a $100,000 expansion grant from the state, but they also came up with some innovation of their own, placing hidden high-tech surveillance cameras in old fashioned street-lamp housings that were designed in the 1890’s.

“Technology is the way of the future, and so for us to have found a way to springboard from our traditional lighting to L-E-D and then to surveillance and data collection, we see growth potential,” said Lafemina.

For Governor Malloy, who toured a plant today, the positive jobs numbers were an opportunity to crow two weeks before the election that his job growth numbers exceed both of his predecessors.

“John Rowland saw growth of jobs at about 500 a month,” said Malloy. “Jodi Rell saw job losses at about 440 per month, and we’ve seen our job growth on average at 1,500 a month.”

“We haven’t seen an upside move like that since 1994,” said Andy Condon, the State Labor Department’s Director of Research. “we’ve seen downside moves bigger than 11,000.”

Republican Tom Foley had no public events today and his campaign would not make him available for an interview, but a campaign spokesman issued a statement:

“We have only recovered 70-percent of the jobs lost during the recession and we still have one of the worst recovery rates in the nation,” said the campaign spokesman. “Our weak recovery is the result of Dan Malloy’s failed policies.”

“September now marks 30 consecutive months of the Connecticut unemployment rate far exceeding the national average,” said Jerry Labriola, Chairman of the State Republican Party. “Connecticut continues to struggle under Governor Malloy.”

“We were in a deeper hole than a lot of places in January of ’11 and it’s taken a while to get out,” responded Governor Malloy.

It might seem highly suspicious to some that just two weeks before an election that most polling seems to indicate is a dead heat that the state labor department announces the best monthly job creation numbers in twenty years.

Is someone “cooking the books?”

“The only thing I can say is we didn’t cook them, the bureau of labor statistics at the U.S. Labor Department collects the data and does the analysis for all the states,” replied Condon.

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