Hiring surges in March as workers cycle off unemployment aid
The state Department of Labor estimated on Tuesday that employers statewide have created 5,400 jobs. Federal data also showed that 21,700 fewer people received unemployment checks at the end of the March.
Based on surveys, the Department of Labor calculates that the state has regained 84 percent of the jobs it lost since last March, when Gov. Ned Lamont issued executive orders shutting down swaths of the economy, including malls, hotels and restaurant dining rooms. DOL estimated Connecticut’s unemployment rate at 8.3 percent, down from 8.5 percent in February.
“While still high, it’s great progress as the labor force increased, the number of employed increased and the number of unemployed decreased in March,” said DOL research director Patrick Flaherty, in prepared comments via a pair of online videos posted Thursday. “Retail has now regained more than 80 percent of the jobs it lost during the recession.”
New Haven-area employers reported the biggest hiring gains to DOL, which estimated an additional 5,500 jobs for the region for a 2 percent increase.
Separately on Thursday, the U.S. Department of Labor reported about 190,200 state residents receiving jobless assistance as of the last week of March, including some 37,200 independent workers who have seen their main sources of income evaporate during the pandemic. That was down from nearly 212,000 Connecticut residents at the end of February.
The possibility remains that some individuals have inadvertently allowed their benefits to lapse after failing to file new initial claims for unemployment, a requirement for those still receiving benefits a year after their original claim.
As of Thursday on the the Indeed.com jobs board, more than 18,000 open jobs are listed by employers, ranging from retailers like Home Depot hiring seasonal help to hospitals like St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport and Yale-New Haven
And multiple hotel chains like Marriott International and the Hyatt Regency are advertising for events specialists, a year after the pandemic resulted in mass cancellations of business meetings and social events like graduations and weddings.
Flaherty cautioned the Connecticut job market likely underwent some permanent alteration,
with the full scope still unknown.
“There will need to be some adjustments in the labor market — folks who lost their jobs at the beginning of the pandemic probably hoped that they would go back to the same job they had had, particularly if they had worked for the same company for many, many years,” Flaherty said. “While we know the economy
is growing and we know that there are job opportunities out there, there’s some folks that unfortunately may not be able to return to the job that they previously had. And ... they may not have the experience in terms of job search of someone who is brand new to the labor market.”