A lackluster job market statewide in June didn't stifle growth in the Norwich-New London area, according to a report released Thursday by the state Department of Labor.
The June jobs report shows eastern Connecticut turning in its second straight positive performance, spurred partly by gains in seasonal employment related to tourism. Following a May increase of 1,300 jobs in the Norwich-New London area, June saw another gain of 900 jobs locally, the state estimates show, which accounted for more than half the 1,400 positions added statewide during the month.
Still, the region's overall statistics show 1,900 job losses between June 2011 and the same month this year. And the state's unemployment rate as a whole rose three-tenths of a point last month, to 8.1 percent.
"Overall job growth is slow," Andy Condon, director of the Labor Department's Office of Research, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, the jump in our unemployment rate indicates we are not growing jobs fast enough to satisfy the need in our economy."
Despite the state's unemployment rate increase — Connecticut's second consecutive monthly rise — the rate is still eight-tenths of a percentage point lower than it was in June of last year. It also is slightly below the U.S. rate of 8.2 percent.
"Part of the reason for the increase announced today is that more people are looking for work, which in and of itself is a good thing," Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in a statement. "It means people are increasingly confident that there are good jobs available."
Pete Gioia, an economist with the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, agreed with Malloy's assessment. He said in press statement that the jobs report was "a little better than what might be expected considering the very tepid numbers that we've seen on a federal level."
Still, the state Labor Department acknowledged that the pace of job growth statewide has slowed in recent months. Of the 22,000 job gains the state has seen since January of last year, only 8,800 have been added in the past year, a growth rate of about half a percent.
But Malloy pointed out that Connecticut saw an increase of 5,000 private-sector jobs last month, while government positions were reduced by 3,600, according to the report.
"Let's put this month's job figure into context," Malloy said. "It was announced last month that 102,000 private sector jobs were created nationally. That means ... our state is responsible for 5 percent of the country's job growth in the last month even though we only account for about 1 percent of the country's population."