NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut’s unemployment rate decreased to 3.9% in January, down from 4.8% at the same time last year, according to a report released by the state department of labor on Friday.

The state’s private sector has regained 96.9% of the jobs lost in the first two months of the pandemic, according to the data.

“This is positive news that speaks to the underlying strength of the state’s economy. Connecticut’s unemployment rate remains low and stable; workers are actively benefitting from the opportunities afforded by the strong jobs market; and weekly unemployment benefit filing continues to be below pre-pandemic levels,” Connecticut Department of Labor Commissioner  Danté Bartolomeo said in the written announcement. “As we enter 2023 with an eye on the potential impacts of inflation, it’s worth reflecting on just how critical the 2020 infusion of $10.6 billion in pandemic unemployment benefits was to keeping Connecticut families afloat and the economy out of a depression.”

There were 35,300 jobs added in the state between January 2022 and January 2023, according to the report. The labor pool, however, has shrunk by 25,000 compared to before the pandemic.

Businesses have 100,000 vacancies. About 40,000 employees quit their jobs in December, but did not apply for unemployment benefits because they are either moving to other jobs or leaving the labor market.