Fourteen States and D.C. Have Higher Unemployment Than Connecticut

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Rhode Island and California have the highest unemployment rates in the country, at 9.8 percent, and Connecticut is 16th, at 8.1 percent.

New Jersey is the state with the smallest improvement in its unemployment rate since the worst days of the recession.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which collects the data, says that Connecticut’s unemployment rate has no meaningful difference from the national rate. It also says that the number of jobs added over the year in the state was so small that it’s not clear that there was any gain at all.


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13 thoughts on “Fourteen States and D.C. Have Higher Unemployment Than Connecticut

  1. Old capitalist

    Mara/article misleads.

    New Jersey has added jobs last year while Connecticut’s unemployment rate declined because of a smaller recorded work force

    1. Mara Lee Post author

      Well, first of all, Connecticut’s unemployment rate didn’t decline over the year, and the article doesn’t say that it did. But you are right, New Jersey has added jobs, and as I noted, Connecticut’s job growth was so minimal that it’s within the margin of error in the survey. But even so, I’d rather be an unemployed job seeker in a state with 8.1 percent unemployment than one with 9.5 percent unemployment. Full details here:

  2. Old capitalist

    I don’t think so. A net of 50,000 job seekers who were unemployed found jobs in New Jersey last year vs. a net Zero in CT.

    1. Mara Lee Post author

      Well, there were 50,000 more jobs in New Jersey, that doesn’t mean unemployed people in that state got them. They could have been filled by Pennsylvania and NY residents; they could have been filled by fresh college graduates, people transferring from jobs in other states,immigrants, etc. The fact that the unemployment rate is not budging there suggests they were largely not filled by that state’s unemployed.

  3. Mara Lee Post author

    That made me chuckle. Seriously, though, if you’re curious about what kind of migration there is from Connecticut, there’s a new mapping tool the Census has put out that shows where people from Hartford and its suburbs, or Fairfield, or whatever county you want move, and whether the area is a net gainer or loser to those jurisdictions. Check it out here:

    Hartford, West Hartford, Avon, Manchester, etc. residents, they’re not going to New Jersey. They’re going to New York, Rhode Island, and to a lesser degree, Florida, but they flow within the state the most often — to and from Fairfield, Tolland, New London, etc. Hartford County is a generally a net gainer from Greater Boston and Western Mass. If you’re as much of a numbers geek as I am, you’ll enjoy.

  4. Old capitalist

    Thanks for the info., though if CT did not add any net jobs and the unemployment rate is the same, I must deduce that overall, all those people you refer to in NJ’s case. (recent college graduates, immigrants, transferees and others joining the work force) had to be offset by people moving out (judging from my circle of friends, most of their college graduated kids), which bolters my contention that our state is seriously lacking job opportunities (I am sure you know why) and should not be judged as doing better than most of those 14 states with higher unemployment rates.

  5. Mara

    Unfortunately, because Connecticut is a small state, and therefore the sample size is not as statistically reliable as in larger states, it’s hard to know whether we added jobs or not! We might have added 8,000, or 10,000, or 12,000, or 4,000, or 1,000.
    But you’re right, if there was basically no job gain, either the second jobs some people used to have are being done by people who would prefer to be working full-time, or the only job openings there are come from retirements/people getting fired/people moving out of state/people quitting school to go to grad school/people dying/people quitting work to take care of family members.

    When you look at the net migration of those 20-24 from Hartford County, it does show several hundred folks going to Greater Boston, but it shows more people are coming to us from New York than we’re sending there. That surprised me.

    One thing to keep in mind is that even if your circle loses most of their kids to Boston/NY/NC/California/etc., the proportion of people with college degrees in this state continues to grow. So we’re capturing professionals from NYC who move out to Fairfield once they have kids and we’re retaining many of our own graduates.

  6. Old capitalist

    Mara, my assertions have been confirmed. The economic digest published by the state reveals that our workforce declined by 23,400 whereas New Jersey’s workforce increased 83,300 over the past 12 months. Part of CT favorable unemployment #’s vs NJ are due to us either not counting or showing a declining population, which was my point all along.

  7. Mara Lee Post author

    Look at the map that’s hyperlinked in the newer post on this blog. Connecticut and New Jersey’s workforce ratios are similar.

    I feel like our discussion on the relative health of Connecticut and New Jersey’s economies is a bit beside the point. Connecticut’s job market is not healthy. But the nearby economy that’s doing far better is Greater Boston, not New Jersey. Metro Boston’s unemployment rate is 6.5 percent.

  8. Old capitalist

    “Connecticut’s job market is not healthy”


    I really don’t give a mouse’s behind about the economy of New Jersey. I just wanted your admission that the figures do not show that currently CT is climbing back.


  9. Joanie W.

    Statistically, considering the factor of people giving up looking for work, the real unemployment rate in Ct. currently stands at 14.56%

    1. Mara Lee Post author

      That number includes people who are working part-time and want to be working full-time, as well as the discouraged and ‘marginally attached’ workers you’re referring to, so to call it ‘the real unemployment rate’ is a bit confusing, given it includes people who are working.

      Full information about the data is here:

      That shows that Connecticut was exactly in the same spot as the U.S. when including discouraged/marginally attached/part-time but wish they were full-time. But our relative standing compared to other states is far worse than with ‘standard’ unemployment.

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