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Data shows unemployment down, trends point to recovery from pandemic lockdown

The unemployment rate fell from 8.1% in April 2021 to 7.7% in May 2021. Its peak was 11.4% in May 2020.



On Tuesday the Connecticut Department of Labor released their May 2021 data on the state of the labor situation, pointing to a decrease in unemployment rates.

“Jobs are up more than 18,000 so far in 2021, and the unemployment rate is lower than it was more than five years after the start of the great recession of 2008,” Director of the Office of Research at the Connecticut Department of Labor Patrick Flaherty said in a statement. “Month-to-month changes are difficult to interpret this year due to unusual seasonal patterns, but the overall trends are positive.” 

The report noted that payroll jobs in Connecticut increased by 7,800 in May, following an April increase of 1,200. The unemployment rate fell from 8.1% in April 2021 to 7.7% in May 2021. Its peak was 11.4% in May 2020. 

In comparison, the U.S. unemployment rate in May 2021 was 5.8%, down from 6.1% in April 2021 and down significantly from 13.3% a year ago. 

The report found that unemployment claims for first-time filers in Connecticut were an average of 9,346 per week in May 2021, up 4,737 (102.8%) from the April 2021 level. However, claims were lower by 22,246 (-70.4%) from the average weekly count of in May 2020. 

The Department of Labor reported that private sector employment rose by 0.6% in May 2021, which 11.5% (141,000 jobs) higher than numbers from May 2020. 

RELATED: US unemployment claims fall to 376,000, sixth straight drop

However, the government supersector dropped 800 jobs (-0.4%) last month. This is still 5% higher than employment rates in May 2020. The government supersector includes all federal, state, and local employment, including public education and Native American casino employment located on tribal reservation land. 

Four industry sectors in particular had strong employment gains: manufacturing jobs increased by 0.5%, leisure and hospitality by 1.5%, education and health services by 1.6% and professional and business services by 1.1%. Losses were small in other sectors. 

The report found that the May 2021 private sector workweek was down two-tenths of an hour from May 2020 and average hourly earnings, $34.01 in May 2021, were lower by $0.51 (-1.5%) from the May 2020 estimate of $34.52. 

Average May 2021 private sector weekly wages averaged $1,173.35, down $24.49 from a year ago (-2.0%). The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers in May 2021 was up 5.0% from May 2020. 

RELATED: Connecticut labor commissioner announces retirement

The report noted Connecticut has now recovered 63.3% (185,200) of the 292,400 positions lost during the COVID-19 lockdown in the March and April 2020. These monthly industry job estimates are sourced from the workplace survey directed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for the Current Employment Statistics program. 

Additionally, four of the six Connecticut labor market areas had employment gains in May 2021. 

Key takeaways for Connecticut show signs of labor recovery from the 2020 lockdown: a lower unemployment rate and employment gains in certain labor sectors and markets.


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