HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut's unemployment rate inched up in May, state officials said Thursday while offering a glimmer of optimism by saying the labor force also increased for the first time this year.
The jobless rate increased to 7.8 percent, up 0.1 percent from April as the number of unemployed workers rose by 3,112 to 150,300. The state also added 1,400 jobs.
Andy Condon, director of the Labor Department's office of research, said that if growth in the labor force continues it will be a sign that more people are actively searching for work. Such a development is significant because the labor force had declined for four consecutive months, he said.
"People who are frustrated and drop out of the labor market see opportunity," he said.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said increased activity by job seekers may be causing the slight increase in the unemployment rate as the labor force — including those without work — grows.
"Given the fact that more people are trying to enter the workforce because they're more optimistic they can actually find a job, the change in the unemployment rate is not a surprise," he said in a statement.
Nationally, the unemployment rate also ticked up by 0.1 percent in May, to 8.2 percent. U.S. employers created only 69,000 jobs in May, the fewest in a year.
Over the year, Connecticut's labor market grew by 6,200 jobs, or 0.4 percent. The state revised lower the April estimate of a loss of 4,100 jobs to a loss of 4,700.
The number of jobs rose in six of Connecticut's 10 industry sectors, fell in three and was unchanged in one. Education, health care and government were among the sectors where jobs rose.
Declines were posted in professional and business services, utilities and transportation.
Peter Gioia, an economist at the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, said the job numbers show "painfully slow growth" in the state's economy.
The labor force is down by 82,000 jobs from March 2008, he said.
"At this rate, we've got a long, long way to go to get to where we need to be in terms of job growth in Connecticut," Gioia said.
The mild winter scrambled labor force calculations that Condon said may now be eased with the approach of summer. Economists adjust labor force statistics to account for expected seasonal developments such as increased construction and tourism in warmer months. Because the winter was unusually mild in the Northeast, builders and tourists were busy earlier than usual and as a result, seasonal adjustments made the spring months look weak in comparison.
Condon said that may have resulted in the slight uptick in May's unemployment rate.
"A resumption of more typical seasonal patterns now will hopefully give us a clearer picture going forward on job growth and unemployment in the state," he said.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Remembrance ceremonies are underway across the state and nation in honor of the victims at Sandy Hook.
A 22-year-old New Haven man is in critical condition after being shot in the head Thursday afternoon.
An old school in New London has become an eyesore, but now it's a money-making opportunity for the city.
UConn is expected to make it official in a news conference Thursday afternoon, but they have made a decision regarding who will be leading the football team next season.
The State Democratic Party has had to return a $10,000 contribution that appears to be illegal. It may be the first campaign contribution 'flare-up' of next year's race for governor.
Police say DNA evidence helped them crack a cold case investigation out of East Hampton.
An adult and a teen have been arrested in connection with a drunk driving crash that killed a Hebron teenager in August.
We have been telling you about a little boy, just 6-years-old, suspended from school for kissing a girl on the hand. We've been getting a lot of calls about that one.
As we brace for a winter storm this weekend, some Connecticut farmers are just recovering from the previous two bad winter seasons.
It was all a hoax, but the cost of last month's Yale gunman scare is no joke. We're talking thousands and guess who foots that hefty bill?