Contact:Joachim Hero, Research Analyst,
(203) 498-4240, cell: (734) 709-7533
(203) 498-4240, cell: (860) 208-7706 --
on local Labor Market Area data
CT’s Long-term Unemployment Rate the 4th Highest in Nation
long-term unemployment rate is the fourth highest among all states,
according to a new Labor Day weekend report on jobs and wages in the state.
“The State of Working Connecticut 2010,” released by Connecticut Voices for
Children, a research-based policy think tank, also finds that only the
Health and Education job sector showed significant job growth during the
current recession and that the continued health of this job sector may be
threatened by the prospect of state budget cuts. Steep losses of
middle-class jobs in the state as well as racial, ethnic, and gender wage
gaps also limit economic opportunities, according to the report.
To restore broader economic opportunities and
to help families through the recession, the report recommends that the state
develop a focused and strategic economic plan, avoid severe state budget
cuts that would worsen job losses, ramp up supports for unemployed families,
and increase investments in education and worker training.
“To restore opportunity for
Connecticut families, we need to maintain our
supports for them until we can get Connecticut’s economy working again,”
said Jamey Bell, Executive Director of Connecticut Voices for Children. “We
can’t return to economic prosperity by undercutting supports for struggling
Among the report’s findings:
unemployment and underemployment rates indicate serious challenges for
The long-term unemployment rate in Connecticut – the share of unemployed
workers who have been out of work for 6 months or more, despite looking
for work -- is the fourth highest in the country at 37%. The
underemployment rate – which
includes the unemployed, part-time workers who want to work full-time,
and discouraged workers who have stopped looking for work -- is at a
historic high for the state, at 14%.
Health and Education job sector experienced substantial job growth since
the beginning of the recession,
growing by 4.6% from March 2008 through 2010. Connecticut Voices
expressed concern that the state’s only successful job sector may be
threatened by state budget cuts, since this sector is heavily dependent
on public sector investment.
years, middle-wage occupations have experienced the steepest job losses.
This group of occupations, which include middle-class jobs such as
carpenters, truck drivers, and bookkeepers, have lost 6.8% of their
positions between 2006 and 2009. Connecticut Voices suggested this was
a troubling loss of occupations that have traditionally provided living
wages. Only the highest 20% of occupations by wage, including dentists,
lawyers, and registered nurses, increased their number of jobs, by 5.6%
ethnic, and gender gaps in wages are much wider in Connecticut than
among workers in other states.
The median wage for Connecticut’s African Americans was only 62% of the
white median wage in 2009, compared to 78% for African Americans
nationally. Hispanics earned only 60% of the median wage of whites in
the state, compared to 70% nationally. Connecticut also has the sixth
worst gender gap in wages among all states, with women earning 76% of
men’s median wages, compared to 82% nationally.
“The pain of this recession has been
concentrated among low- and middle-wage workers, while the gains of the
previous economic expansion were primarily enjoyed by high-wage workers,”
said Joachim Hero, Research Associate at Connecticut Voices for Children and
co-author of the report. “Connecticut
should aggressively pursue an economic development strategy that benefits
Connecticut Voices also released a
supplemental report, “State of Working Connecticut 2010: Trends in Local
Labor Market Areas,” which summarized local wage, unemployment, and business
trends in Connecticut’s nine Labor
Market Areas: Bridgeport-Stamford,
Danbury, Enfield, Hartford, New Haven, Norwich-New London, Torrington,
Waterbury, and Willimantic-Danielson.
“Wage and business trends can vary in local
job markets,” said Orlando Rodriguez, Senior Policy Fellow at Connecticut
Voices for Children and co-author of the report. “State and local
policymakers should tailor their economic development strategies to regional
To help restore broader economic opportunities
and to help families through the recession, the report recommends that
more state budget cuts that would undermine the economy and weaken supports
for working families and the unemployed.
Just as the needs of families are rising, the revenues available to support
them have declined. Connecticut Voices called for a balanced approach to
reducing the state budget deficit that includes new revenues, to avoid deep
cuts that would cost jobs and delay the economic recovery.
a clear economic development strategy for the state
that includes closing the achievement gaps in Connecticut’s schools and
critically evaluating the success of the state’s economic development
initiatives, including its growing use of business tax credits.
Ramp up supports
for the families of lower wage workers and workers who have lost their jobs,
including health insurance, housing, and child care supports.
Expand our public
investment in education and training.
economic analyses indicate that direct investments in education, including
early childhood, K-12 and higher education, can be effective in creating
jobs and improving opportunities for Connecticut residents.