Connecticut’s unemployment rate fell from 8.9 percent to 8.6 percent in December, but for the wrong reasons.
It wasn’t that more people were finding work, or even that a larger number were retiring from their jobs. Instead, the biggest reason for the drop was that people who had been looking for work gave up.
Throughout 2012, the number of people either working, or actively looking for work, fell by 45,500 in state. That’s the largest drop in the labor force since record keeping began in 1974. Some of that is due to demographics — the leading edge of the Baby Boom is reaching retirement age — but some of it is a consequence of the barely perceptible recovery.
The Connecticut Department of Labor’s report, released Thursday, also had bad news, with an estimate that the state lost 1,800 jobs in December. However, economists at the department have advised that the monthly figures, based on survey responses, are not consistent with the actual payroll count data that’s coming in. The full accounting for job growth in the state for 2012 will be available in March.