The August jobs numbers gave back much of the gains from July — largely because of problems in the seasonal adjustment formula, analysts say — but the state’s economic momentum still looks stronger in 2013 than the year before.
Taking the long view, the state added 14,300 jobs in the first eight months of the year, a pace that if continued, would mean more than 21,000 jobs for the year. The last time the state’s job base grew that fast was 2006.
Nick Perna, an economist who consults for Webster Bank, said even the eight-month total may be overstated. But he said: “You hear a lot of people say: ‘We’re dead last, we’re dead in the water, we’re going nowhere.’ That’s not true.”
In 2012, the number of the jobs in the state only grew by 9,900 from January through August.
Even with this momentum, the state has a long way to go to return to economic health. The job base needs to grow by 59,000 jobs to exceed the number of positions it had in 2008. But from the bottom, the state’s employers have added 62,200 jobs.
The estimate released Thursday says the state lost 6,000 jobs in August, but that estimate also says local governments, including public schools, cut 7,500 jobs. Andy Condon, director of the state Department of Labor’s office of research, said that’s a correction from a reported gain of 3,300 local government jobs in July. Both numbers were out of whack because the school year went late due to weather-related cancellations, Condon said.
The Department of Labor works to smooth the effects of school employment that ends during the summer, retail hiring for Christmas, and other unusual spikes so the public can see the underlying trend of job growth or losses. When patterns diverge from the norm, that can distort the numbers.
Private-sector employment was up in August by 2,300, the report said. In the past 12 months, companies and nonprofits grew by 17,800 net new jobs, an increase of 1.3 percent. Nationwide, private sector jobs were up 2 percent over the year.
“I was pleased when I looked at the private payroll numbers, those are not too shabby,” Perna said.
Even though government payrolls in Connecticut are down by 2,400 over the year, natural churn can create some opportunities for the unemployed.
Benjola Shule-Sejdaras graduated from Central Connecticut State University in December with an education major, certified to teach middle school or high school science. In her first summer on the job market, she interviewed with seven or eight districts, including Hartford, West Hartford, Plainville and Bridgeport. She took the first offer, at Waterbury Career Academy, where she’s teaching physical science.
“I am the only new hire, others are transfers from within district,” she said. Shule-Sejdaras, who lives in Naugatuck, said she knows several other classmates who found full-time teaching jobs this fall.
The unemployment rate, measured from a separate, smaller survey, remains stubbornly high at 8.1 percent. It has hovered between 8 percent and 8.1 percent for most of the year.