The latest jobs figures from 2014 are out, and they point to the same conclusion: 2014 was the best year for American job creation in a decade and a half. As employers added on average nearly 250,000 nonfarm jobs per month, the national unemployment rate fell from 6.6 percent to 5.6 percent as the economy finally recovered all of the jobs it lost during the Great Recession.
Connecticut, too, had a good year, adding 25,700 jobs from November 2013 to November 2014 (the most recent state figures available). The Nutmeg State, however, has yet to regain all of the 219,100 jobs lost in the Great Recession—a deficit of 25,000 still remains. Unemployment has fallen considerably—from 9.5 percent during the depths of the economic downtown to 6.5 percent late last year—but many of the unemployed had stopped looking for work, and have yet to reenter the workforce. In short, real progress is being made, but Connecticut has a ways to go.
Policymakers must keep this in mind as they approach this year’s state budget. Steps taken to get our fiscal house in order cannot come at the expense of programs that support families’ basic needs and the education and well-being of our children. To do so is to put downward pressure on a still-vulnerable economy and handicap our future workforce—both actions that hurt us all.