(WTNH) – When will Connecticut fully recover all the jobs lost due to the pandemic? The state currently has about 120,000 job openings and 70,000 people looking for work.

State economic leaders say the lack of affordable daycare and the need for retraining are both factors in why people aren’t participating in the labor force. On Monday, state officials highlighted a Milford company that is thriving.       

FCP Euro is an online European car parts company. The Milford warehouse was humming like a bee’s hive.

CEO Scott Drozd told reporters, “I feel very bullish and optimistic on Connecticut.”

Sales at $70,000 a few years ago have exploded to $200 million this year. Strong consumer demand for car parts is at the core.

“Less new car sales means more miles driven on pre-owned vehicles which certainly helps us,” said Drozd.

Once a 70-employee workforce, FCP Euro now employs 300. Governor Ned Lamont describes what they do saying, “They bring in the most exotic parts from around the world and make sure that you can keep your car going.”

High-speed race cars are displayed in the Milford showroom, which is a symbol of the record pace the state is seeing in new business start-ups after people quit their old jobs to start new ventures.

DECD Commissioner, David Lehman says 1,100 new businesses start every month. 

“Up 40 percent versus pre-pandemic levels. I actually think that’s a positive thing over the medium term because those are businesses that are going to look to hire people in the coming years,” Lehman said.

Lehman says In Connecticut 64 percent of adults are either working or actively looking for a job, which is above the national average.

More people working means low unemployment. Connecticut’s unemployment rate is at 3.7 percent, which is in line with the national average.

The latest jobs report 6,500 shows jobs were gained in manufacturing, construction, and local government.

A new state tax credit of $5,000 per worker is given if the company helps pay student loan debt, which can be helpful in recruiting.

Peter Tingus the Vice President of Human Resources said, “We will look to see if we can take advantage of it and accelerate that for our employees.”

The company is looking to expand into Arizona. They want to build a new distribution center.

CTDOL reminds residents that job search, resume, and training assistance are available free of charge at the state’s American Job Centers.

They urge job seekers, employers, and recruiters to register with CTHires, the state’s job bank.