Oct. jobs decline in Connecticut is 2nd in row even as unemployment rate dips to 7-year low

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WETHERSFIELD, Connecticut — The number of jobs in Connecticut declined by 2,200 in October, the second monthly loss in a row even as the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since March 2008, the Department of Labor reported Thursday.

The job loss was the fourth monthly decline this year. Still, total employment has increased in Connecticut by more than 24,000 jobs since October 2014.

The unemployment rate of 5.1 percent was down one-tenth of a percentage point. The U.S. unemployment rate in October was 5 percent.

Andy Condon, research director at the Labor Department, said the job losses may indicate a "softening of the strong growth" through August. The annual employment growth rate is strong, he said.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy focused on the overall employment gains, rather than the back-to-back monthly job losses. Connecticut's private sector is benefiting from healthy economic growth, he said.

"While this month is comparatively flat, we're no doubt seeing positive signs," the governor said.

Peter Gioia, economist for the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, said the 24,000-job increase in a year is disappointing. The loss of jobs in October shows that Connecticut's economy "is still struggling to get on its feet," he said.

Don Klepper-Smith, an economist who was an adviser to former Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell, said Connecticut has only recovered 84 percent of jobs lost in the Great Recession, badly lagging U.S. employment gains.

"We're clearly heading in the wrong direction on the job front and there is quite a bit of discontent within the business community to contend with," he said.

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