CT has good employment news for May, but future still uncertain

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — More than 6,000 Connecticut residents found jobs in May, bringing the state unemployment rate to its lowest level in nearly seven years. Despite what sounds like good news, one of the state’s top economists says that the outlook for the next two years is not great.

Connecticut’s jobless rate came down to just 6 percent in May, down two-tenths of a percentage point. Jobs were added at places like Leipold manufacturing, which makes precision parts for transportation, telecommunications, and mechanical industries across the country. 

“We have added about six jobs within this year and we’re continuing to add jobs,” said General Manager Michael Kraemer.

The news has the Malloy administration practically skipping for joy, issuing a news release describing it as the largest labor force the state has had in nearly 40 years.   

“We’re doing reasonably well, we’ve added over 26,000 jobs year over year, the unemployment rate went down to six-percent, and we added people to the labor force,”  said Pete Gioia, the economist for the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.

But there has been nothing but negative news about the business climate in Connecticut for the past two weeks because of the business taxes passed by the legislature.  

“I do not agree with that at all,” said Kraemer. I think the business climate for manufacturing, from our point of view, is very good in Connecticut.”

But Leipold is one of the companies that got a low interest loan from the Malloy administration to encourage them to expand, and they do plan to double their manufacturing plant in the next year.

“The big question is, where are we going to be a year from now?” asks Gioia.

He says that you can’t give a low interest loan to everyone, and the budget passed by the General Assembly earlier in June, and the negative reviews in the business press all across the county, are already taking a toll.  

“I’ve already talked with a couple of economists who have seriously downgraded their expectations for next year and for 2017 based upon legislative action to date,” said Gioia.

He also points out that despite the good employment news for May, Connecticut is still lagging behind the nation and the region, only recovering 82-percent of the jobs that were lost in the recession. Massachusetts has regained more than 150-percent, and the nation, 140-percent.

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