Published May 17. 2013 4:00AM
Spring has sprung, and jobs are growing - but not in New London County.
The state Department of Labor released a report Thursday showing that the Norwich-New London region recorded a loss of 200 positions between March and April. The 127,100 jobs in the region during April represented a decline of 1,200 compared with the same month last year and was the largest percentage loss among the state's nine labor markets.
Statewide, the labor situation was rosier, as Connecticut picked up 6,300 jobs in April. So far this year, the state has added 9,600 positions.
"Connecticut's job growth momentum picked up considerably last month," Andy Condon, director of the Labor Department's research office, said in a statement. "The state appears to be experiencing a solid and more typical spring seasonal job buildup."
Both government and private-sector jobs rose last month. Government jobs grew by 500, while private-sector employment saw an uptick of 5,800.
Last month's statewide unemployment rate held firm at 8 percent, but was down two-tenths of a point from the same month last year. This compares with the current U.S. jobless rate of 7.5 percent.
Peter Gioia, an economist and vice president of the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, said the jobs report included some good news, but there were warning flags as well. One of the negatives in the report, he said, was that the private sector work week in Connecticut declined eight-tenths of an hour in April compared with the same month last year.
"We've only gained back 47 percent of the jobs that we lost during the recession, so it shows we still have a long way to go," Gioia said in a podcast made available to the media.
Don Klepper-Smith, chief economist and director of research at New Haven-based DataCore Partners, said the job numbers were in line with expectations although somewhat muted compared with previous economic expansions.
"I think it's safe to say we're seeing modest improvement in the local labor markets, but many of the key labor metrics are being skewed by declines in the labor force," Klepper-Smith said in a note to clients. "Consider that Connecticut's labor force has dropped by 36,900 workers over the last year, down 2 percent."