State of Working Connecticut, 2011: Jobs, Unemployment, and the Great Recession

Back • Publication Date: October 5th, 2011

Authors: Orlando Rodriguez, M.A. and Matt Santacroce

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This report on Connecticut's unemployment landscape reveals growing disparities in Connecticut's labor force, and highlights the unequal impact of the Great Recession across demographic groups and geography in our state.

This report on Connecticut's unemployment landscape reveals growing disparities in Connecticut's labor force, and highlights the unequal impact of the Great Recession across demographic groups and geography in our state. Among the report's key findings:

 

  • Unemployment has most heavily affected young workers (18.2%), Hispanics (17.7%), and African Americans (15.6%), compared to 7.5% for white workers and 9.1% overall.
  • Long-term unemployment – the share of the unemployed who have been out of work for at least six months – is relatively high in Connecticut (49.6%), is worst for older workers (60.1%), and has reached the ranks of the college-educated (50.4%). Connecticut has the 5th highest long-term unemployment rate in the country.
  • Geographically, the recession has been felt most heavily in urban regions and rural towns. Cities with the highest unemployment rates are Hartford (16.4%), Waterbury (14.5%), Bridgeport (14.3%), New Haven (13.8%), New Britain (13.2%), and New London (12.4%). Among rural towns, the highest rates were in Plainfield (11.7%) and Sprague (11.2%).
  • Only the private health care sector grew during the Great Recession, adding 8,303 jobs. Every other major employment sector experienced a net loss of jobs.
     

At the current rate of job growth in Connecticut, it will take six years to recover the 119,000 jobs lost during the recession. To restart job growth, Connecticut policymakers should create a comprehensive economic development plan, invest in education and physical infrastructure, and reduce the high costs of living and doing business in the state. (September 2011)