This annual report finds that Connecticut’s current recession has been particularly severe. Unemployment in Connecticut is higher than at any time since 1977, and the number of jobs has fallen to the lowest point since 1998. Unemployment has most heavily affected African Americans and Hispanics, who were more than 2.5 times as likely to be unemployed as Whites in 2008. Racial and ethnic wage gaps reveal limited economic opportunities for many Connecticut workers. Median wages for African Americans and Hispanics were only about 60% of the median wages for Whites in Connecticut.
Low-wage workers have continued to lose ground over this decade, earning 7.5% less in 2008 than they did in 2001. Since 2001, wages have stagnated or declined for the bottom 50% of workers. The gap between very high wage and very low-wage workers is growing faster in Connecticut than in the nation, and Connecticut’s gap is wider than at any time in the last three decades.
Since the beginning of Connecticut’s recession in March 2008, the state’s greatest job losses have been in the professional and business services, construction, manufacturing, and retail trade sectors. The state’s largest sector — education and health — has experienced the greatest gains in employment, though jobs in this sector have stalled since March 2009. The gains in this area are threatened by the potential of further state budget cuts in future years, according to the report.
The report makes recommendations to restore broader economic opportunities and to help families through the recession