Southeastern Connecticut added 1,300 jobs last month, accounting for all but 100 of the increases statewide in May, according to a report released today by the state Department of Labor.
The report noted that the Norwich-New London market, which includes Westerly, traditionally sees a job bump during the summer tourism season. The region also is preparing for the OpSail 2012 tall ships event expected to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors in early July.
Statewide job growth between April and May was pegged at 1,400 but came at a time when 5,270 more people were entering the labor force. The result was that the state’s unemployment rate in May increased a tenth of a percent, to 7.8 percent.
“Growth in the civilian labor force, if it continues, is a sign that more people are actively searching for work and is significant since the labor force had declined for months in a row,” said Andy Condon, director of the Labor Department’s Office of Research, in a statement on the statewide jobs situation.
Throughout the year, Connecticut has added 6,200 jobs, but the gains have been inconsistent from month to month. Revised figures showed April job losses at 4,700, more than had previously been reported, blamed partly on unusual hiring activity during the early months of the year, when warm weather spurred job creation in some fields.
“Connecticut’s large employment fluctuations experienced since the beginning of the year appear to be driven by unusual seasonal patterns rather than (by) purely economic forces,” the Labor Department report said.
Employment last month in education and health services, government, construction and mining, manufacturing, leisure and hospitality and financial activities was up. Professional and business services, other services and trade, transportation and utilities also declined.
Connecticut has recovered nearly 35,000 jobs out of 117,500 lost during the recession, according to the report.
Despite the upbeat labor report for the Norwich-New London area, the region continues to lag the rest of the state in job creation, having lost 2,600 jobs since last May, the report noted. But last month only the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk region turned in better job numbers, posting an increase of 2,500.
The Waterbury area gained 800 jobs and New Haven saw 100 new openings filled, but the Hartford area lost 1,400 positions. Hartford still has accounted for more job increases so far this year than any other area of the state, with 3,400 positions added.