The State of Working Connecticut, 2008: Job Trends and the Labor Force

Back • Publication Date: December 17th, 2008

Authors: Joachim Hero, MPH & Douglas Hall, PhD

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This study of job trends in the state points to some troubling trends indicating a need for policy change:

  • Even before the current recession began, Connecticut’s job conditions were worse than they were before the last recession at the beginning of the decade. The state’s unemployment rate in 2007 (4.5%), heading into the current recession, was twice the rate in 2000 (2.2%), prior to the last recession.
  • Long-term unemployment – the percentage of unemployed workers who have been without work for more than 26 weeks – is higher in Connecticut (20.3%) than the national average (17.6%), and Connecticut has the highest rate in New England.
  • Connecticut is losing higher wage manufacturing jobs and gaining lower wage service sector jobs. The average wage in the job sectors that are gaining jobs is lower than the average wage in the sectors that are losing jobs.
  • Jobs in the health and education fields have been increasing more than in any other job sector. The success of this area of the economy, which is heavily dependent on public sector investment, is threatened by the prospect of major state budget cuts.

The report recommends avoiding state budget cuts that would further undermine the economy and reduce supports for the working families and the unemployed, rethinking the state’s economic development strategy, particularly the state’s heavy use of business tax credits; and expanding our public investment in education and training.