Connecticut’s economy lost 1,600 jobs in November, largely due to the impact that surging COVID-19 cases had on business activity, officials with the state Department of Labor said Thursday.
The state’s unemployment rate rose by more than 2 percentage points from October, to land at 8.2 percent in November, Department of Labor Commissioner Kurt Westby said. The state has recovered 64.5 percent of the jobs that were lost in March and April when the arrival of pandemic restrictions triggered widespread business closures.
“The higher COVID rates this fall caused closures and a pause in economic activity; these unemployment numbers generally reflect what people are seeing in terms of curtailed dining and retail,” Westby said in a statement. “It’s important to mention that the economy is showing an underlying resilience that bodes well for recovery once the vaccine is widely distributed and people can re-engage in their activities.”
October’s employment data, which initially showed a gain of 14,100 jobs, later was revised to indicate 2,600 fewer positions.
The largest job losses in Connecticut’s economy this time around came in the leisure and hospitality sector, which lost 2,800 jobs, and in government employment, which lost 900 jobs. Patrick Flaherty, the Labor Department’s acting director of research, said the decline in government jobs largely was the result of temporary census work ending.
Donald Klepper-Smith, chief economist and director of research for New Haven-based DataCore Partners, said the November employment data for the state is further evidence of “what really horrific numbers we have.”
“Some people don’t really have an appreciation of the economic devastation that has been wrought,” Klepper-Smith said. “We are facing the worst job declines since World War II. It will take five to 10 years for us to get back to the employment levels we were at.”