WETHERSFIELD, Conn. (AP) _ Employers in Connecticut cut 3,600 jobs in August, with schools taking a hit due to a quirk in statistical sampling, state labor officials said Thursday.
The state’s unemployment rate of 6.6 percent was unchanged from July and is the lowest since December 2008 when the rate was 6.7 percent.
Employment decreased by 3,600 jobs, about 0.2 percent. It was the first employment decline in seven months.
However, the private sector, which comprises about 86 percent of Connecticut’s employment, added jobs _ 400 _ for the seventh consecutive month.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who’s in a tight re-election battle dominated by a debate with Republican challenger Tom Foley over jobs and the economy, said the report shows progress.
“For the seventh consecutive month, we are seeing the private sector do what we need it to do _ add jobs,” he said. “The unemployment rate is at a five-year low, and we’ve added nearly 60,000 private sector jobs since 2011.”
Agency research director Andy Condon said the halt in employment growth could be due to employment sampling that’s off compared with previous years.
“This summer appeared to be the best economically since the recovery began in 2010,” he said. “Some of the lull in overall employment growth may be due to an early sample week in August as compared to when public school educators and support staff normally return to work for the new school year.”
“This suggests we should return to form in local education next month,” Condon said.
Despite the downturn in August, Connecticut’s nonfarm employment increased 5,600 jobs since August 2013, a rise of 0.3 percent.