U.S. Economy Adds 236,000 Jobs In February, Unemployment Falls To 7.7 Percent; Questions About Connecticut

by Categorized: Economy, Jobs Date:

The U.S. labor markets turned in one of the best monthly performances of the last 12 months in February, adding 236,000 jobs and paring the unemployment rate to 7.7 percent in a report Friday that heightens concerns about the divide between a sluggish state recovery and rising momentum across the nation.

The national gains, reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, include strong job additions in construction as housing markets recover. Government jobs, as expected, continued to shrink.

Forecasters had predicted a gain in the range of 160,000 added jobs with a decline of one-tenth of a percent in the jobless rate, which was at 7.9 percent in January.

Connecticut is two months behind in reporting because of the upcoming revision of 2012 data, which is expected next week. Preliminary figures show that Connecticut’s economy did not add jobs in 2012, though the state Department of Labor said the revisions will show some gains, perhaps significantly.  Unemployment remains at 8.6 percent in Connecticut, after a 2012 that saw the rate fall, then rise during the summer as the national rate declined.

For now, the Federal Reserve remains committed to propping up the economy by injecting cash in an effort to keep interest rates down. The danger for Connecticut is that a U.S. turnaround could bring higher borrowing rates, especially for mortgages, which would quell a weaker recovery here.

Friday’s report, based on separate surveys of households and businesses, showed a decline in the number of people who were out of work but actively looking for jobs, by 300,000, to 12 million.  There has been some concern that falling unemployment in 2012 was due to people giving up the search — and therefore not counting officially as unemployed. Friday’s report showed real job gains in the household survey as well as the business survey, though it also showed a continued decline in the number of jobless people looking for work.

In the business survey, construction dded 48,000 jobs, by far the strongest sector, as the much larger health and social services sector added 39,000 jobs. Manufacturing continued to show slow but steady progress, adding 14,000 jobs.

Connecticut is due to report February results later this month after reporting January results as part of the 2012 revisions next week.  The concern in this state is that some large employers, especially in insurance and financial services, are shedding jobs as part of long-term cost-cutting efforts — most recently MetLife, which is consolidating work to North Carolina and is likely to move some of its 2,000 Bloomfield jobs as part of that.

Connecticut is also vulnerable to defense cuts, part of the federal sequester as well as an orderly decline in Pentagon spending that was already underway in 2012 before the meltdown between Congress and Obama.






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16 thoughts on “U.S. Economy Adds 236,000 Jobs In February, Unemployment Falls To 7.7 Percent; Questions About Connecticut

  1. alan

    Conn is all about govt and public ed jobs. Any competitive jobs are at risk, insurance, defense, telecom, pharma..all gone it seems-even casinos hurting big tim. Thank God for finance jobs in Fairfield cty-I think that Greenwich, N Canaan, Darien, Westpt, etc are now about 25% of income tax. Lets the Hartford types out on time to see “Coach Geno”

    1. old capitalist

      So true Alan. Over one third of the people employed in CT either work for the government or health and education services. By continuing to have a business climate burdened with high taxes and regulations, I do not expect conditions to improve much irregardless of the so called recovery (what is this the fifth year?)in the national economy.

  2. m s

    The inertia mechanism behind economic growth in Connecticut is such that Connecticut didn’t begin losing jobs until late in this most recent economic crisis. As the crisis picked up momentum, CT began to lose more jobs more rapidly. Because of this inertial effect, it will take CT longer to improve the job situation. HOPEFULLY, this will happen before the next downturn but the net effect over the years is fewer jobs in Connecticut. What’s worse is that in the middle 2000’s when a lot of the states that had housing booms and then crashes, CT never saw the boom but are now seeing and feeling the downside. Connecticut has a broken economy and they are not addressing it. Instead of being stuck between Mass and NY and feeling like they need to raise taxes, they should be doing away with the state income tax and attracting all those businesses in MA and NY that are now looking to relocate.

    Good luck to all of you that remain(ed)!

  3. Tim

    Do people realize why the unemployment numbers are going down? Another 130,000 just left the work force…..

    1. Rob

      Of course not. How can people realize that when left-leaning press like “The Courant” won’t report it?

  4. Richard

    CT is still off 80,000 jobs and saw flat jobs recovery under Dan Malloy’s first two years. There’s no reason to believe this year will be different as sequester and pension issues offset any other growth.

    I look forward to the Malloy job recount next week. As with education Dan’s found it its better to have someone wbo can rig the numbers rather make changes and improve things.

  5. Heading out to South Carolina

    Good luck CT – we’re outta here off to lower cost housing and 40% increase in salary. CT Sucks and you can keep it. umm, ummm, ummm is going to bury you even further.


    1. Ben

      Let me know when you get there. I would like to rent a room from you, down there, before Malloy taxes me more for that ridiculous billion doolar project he gave to UCONN. The small business money will have to go to Geno also if UCONN wins another title, who will pay for that if not. Ummm Ummm Ummm Geno is important to this state, he brings in a least a dozen people a year to live in this state. We can subsidized all the gun company homes, to the players, when they follow you to SC.

    2. m

      North Carolina is not a low tax paradise.

      Personal Income Tax: 6% to 7.75%
      Sales Tax: 4.75% to 7.25%
      Gasoline Tax: 56.2 cents/gallon
      Groceries taxed at 2%

      1. DON886

        The states from which they are moving jobs are Mass, CT, NY, NJ all states with the highest taxes.

        To determine how a “high tax state” NC is in , you need to look further into exemptions and deductions. Business’s are probably concerned more with business taxes.

  6. Heading out to South Carolina

    Well Ben,

    Considering the size of house I’ll be in for HALF of what they run here – I’m sure to have a wing or a few thousand square feet to rent out. And oh yea – the Gun companies will be well served here as well. Nothing left but douche bag steroid laden cops that will shoot you 41 times and fat ass administrators sucking off the state at $200,000 a whack…..

    Can’t pack up and leave soon enough!!!!!

    1. Steven r

      Sounds like you’ll fit in just fine. I forgot the are some of the fattest, poorest, unhealthy people in the USA. Sounds like a dream land.

  7. sue

    Hey Mr. Haar did you get the message. DANNY BOY has created tens of thousands of new jobs. Just ask him. He is a LEGEND in is own SIMPLE MIND. Just because Met Life is moving 650 jobs from CT to NC who cares. We have JACKSON LABS and its 300 oh I forgot 1 new job. And how many new jobs did that DELI in West Hartford create with OUR tax dollars. Yeh I’m sure that Deli can give a job or two to the METlife people

  8. Connecticut Is Dying Too

    Unlike the liberals in Washington, Connecticut’s liberals can’t print money to stay afloat. Our liberals, with the fool Danny boy Malloy at the helm, opt for tried and true libtardian methods of reaching bankruptcy like excessive taxation, state ownership by union thugs, pandering to illegals, and growing the entitlement state.

    I love this state but like others I look forward to moving to another state that actually cares about its taxpayers. That day can’t come soon enough. Last one out turn off the lights.

Comments are closed.