Springfield, New London Suffer, as Boston Booms

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We know Connecticut’s jobs recovery is sluggish, but data released Wednesday provides a window into how different parts of the state are faring, and how our cities’ growth compare to other cities.

Springfield is hurting the worst in the region. Unemployment in greater Springfield was 8 percent in March, and the number of jobs in the Hampden and Hampshire counties fell by 3,600 over the year, the second-largest drop in numbers in the country. Only Atlantic City, hard hit by Hurricane Sandy, fared worse.

The New London area is also still suffering from a shrinking job base. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that from March 2012 to March 2013, the number of positions dropped by 1,700, a 1.3 percent drop.

The same number of jobs evaporated from Fairfield County, but because there were far more jobs there than in Southeastern Connecticut, it’s not as big a hit to the local economy.

Greater Hartford — which includes Hartford, Middlesex and Tolland counties — added 5,200 jobs from March 2012 to March 2013, a 1 percent gain.

That isn’t half bad, but pales compared to Greater Boston, where the number of jobs grew by 1.4 percent, and metro New York, where the number of jobs grew by 1.3 percent.

Greater Boston’s unemployment rate was 5.9 percent, far below the U.S., where 7.6 percent of the labor force is looking for work and can’t find it. By comparison, greater Hartford has an 8.2 percent unemployment rate.  Greater New York’s unemployment rate is 8.1 percent, but it improved over the year, where Hartford and Fairfield counties’ unemployment rates were stagnant.

More than half of the nation’s metro areas had unemployment rates above the national average.


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