Connecticut’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.2 percent
Anisa Jibrell – News Writer
Connecticut’s unemployment rate reached 5.2 percent in September, down 1.1 percent from September 2014 and lagging not too far behind the national rate of 5 percent.
Between March 2008 and the trench of the recession in February 2010, Connecticut lost a total of 119,000 jobs, according to the Connecticut Department of Labor (CDL). The state has since then recovered 99,500 positions, or 83.6% of jobs lost in the recession.
While the state’s overall unemployment rate is effective in looking at changes overtime, economics professor Deborah Savage, said it doesn’t give you a “stratified picture” of what the world looks like for different groups of people and various levels of education.
“It doesn’t tell you very much about what’s going on in Connecticut for workers,” said Savage, “so even though this is a small state there’s big discrepancies between east Connecticut and Fairfield, for instance.”
According to a press release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate stands at 4.4 percent for whites, blacks (9.2 percent), Asians (3.5 percent), and Hispanics (6.3 percent).
The state’s private sector showed an overall 1.82 percent increase in employment over the past year, whereas the public sector showed a small increase of .42 percent, states a CDL report.
As Gov. Dannel Malloy focuses on repairing the state’s infrastructure, Savage said the future economy is an economy of technology.
“They’re building very expensive transportation—little, mini, fast bus lane things—but they’re not worried about technology which is the real super highway,” said Savage. “If you’re building roads people can see you doing that but it doesn’t fool anybody that’s talking about modern economy.”
“You hear very little of anything from any level of state government about taking advantage of unique gifts of both location and education that Connecticut has compared to a lot of places,” said Savage.
According to Savage, the unemployment rate for recent college graduates has fallen and generally people are finding it easier to get a job than they did two years ago.
In 2014, the national unemployment rate for recent college graduates stood at 7.2 percent, according to The Institution for College Access & Success (TICAS). However, in the state of Connecticut in 2014, graduates owed an average of $29,750—up 57 percent from 2004, according to a report from TICAS.
“I think Southern’s mission statement of creating lifelong learners is something that students often don’t take as seriously as they should,” said Savage. “The fact that we teach critical-thinking and require students to take a broad spectrum of courses—that they’re pretty sure they’ll never need—is our way of saying you don’t know what you’re going to be doing ten years from now.”
Some of the fastest growing occupations in the state, according to the CT Department of Labor, include: interpreters or translators, atmospheric space scientists, and event planners. Among the some of top occupations on the decline are: insurance underwriters, proofreaders, reporters, and travel agents.
Savage stresses that it doesn’t matter what major a student takes on, just as long as students make an effort to develop other skills to increase his or her options in the job market.
“The message is, it’s easier to get that first job right now,” said Savage, “but the first job is only the first job.”