Job growth in Connecticut from June 2012 to June 2013 was modest, but a new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows if the rest of the state could match metro Hartford’s pace, the jobs outlook would be far more encouraging.
The report, released Tuesday, shows job growth in each of the country’s 372 metro areas over the last year. Employers in Hartford, Middlesex and Tolland counties added 8,300 jobs over the 12 months, a 1.5 percent increase.
That job growth was stronger than in Richmond, Va., New Orleans, Buffalo, N.Y., Louisville, Ky. and Birmingham, Ala., all similar-sized regions to Hartford. It was substantially weaker than Oklahoma City, which added 15,200 jobs, and also has a similar population to Greater Hartford. That city benefits from the country’s oil boom.
Fairfield County, the state’s second-largest job market, also performed decently, adding 6,400 jobs over the year, a 1.6 percent increase.
But New Haven and New London’s economic woes drag down the state’s performance. New Haven had 1,200 fewer jobs in June 2013 than it had a year earlier, and New London had 1,600 fewer jobs. The New London contraction was 1.2 percent. Only 21 percent of the nation’s metro areas had job losses during the period.
“For all intents and purposes, we haven’t seen a recovery in New London yet,” said economist Don Klepper-Smith, who tracks the state’s economy for Data Core Partners.. “It’s premature to say they’ve bottomed.”
He said the reasons for New London’s problems are clear — downsizing at Pfizer and the casinos — but why New Haven and its suburbs would be contracting isn’t as obvious.
“Economic drivers we have vary across the state,” he said. “This underscores the fact there isn’t one Connecticut economy but multiple Connecticut economies.”
Springfield, Mass.’s metro area, which includes the Northampton region, lost 4,500 jobs, one of the largest declines in the country. Only the Cleveland area and Atlantic City, N.J., had worse losses.