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June 2020 Connecticut Economic Digest

Signs of Hope Despite Unprecedented Declines

By Matthew Krzyzek Office of Research, Department of Labor

The global impact of COVID-19 has resulted in an unprecedented pause to economies all over the world. In April, U.S. payroll employment fell by 20.5 million jobs with declines reported in all 50 states. Connecticut lost a historic 266,300 net jobs, a -15.9% decline in just one month.

As of early May 2020, approximately 300,000 Connecticut workers were receiving benefits. Compared to the 2009-2010 recession, 2020 claimants are more likely to be female, are younger on average, and are more likely to have worked in Accommodation & Food Service, Retail Trade, or Health Care & Social Assistance. The 2009-2010 recession saw the largest number of claims in manufacturing and construction. Workers in these industries are, on average, older and more likely to be male than workers in the economy as a whole.

Despite this grim news, a look at Help Wanted Online (HWOL) shows that many employers are still posting job ads. During the week of May 3rd, Healthcare & Social Assistance, Finance & Insurance, and Retail Trade all had almost 2,000 or more job postings in Connecticut. The Conference Board’s HWOL data series aggregates and categorizes job postings from over 50,000 online sources to produce deduplicated counts of job postings by various economic and geographic breakdowns.For more info on HWOL, see: The Connecticut Department of Labor publishes monthly detailed reviews of HWOL data by labor market area and currently produces weekly data briefs to help illustrate short term labor market shifts.For more info on CT DOL HWOL publications, see:

Industry breakdowns of HWOL are shown in Figure 1. Total postings from early March to early May are down 33% to a level 21% below one year ago. Almost every sector experienced a decline in job postings over that two-month period. While down, total postings are still above 25,000 – employers in every sector continue to recruit in Connecticut. One sector that has more postings than eight weeks ago is Transportation and Warehousing. The gains in that sector are driven by job postings for driving or delivery services as home-bound consumers adjust to current conditions.

Figure 1 HWOL Weekly Total Statewide Job Ads

Of the three sectors with large April job losses, postings in Accommodation & Food Service and Retail Trade fell by 50% and 45% from March to May. Health Care and Social Assistance job ads fell by 13% over two months although there were still thousands of postings in these industries.

Despite the overall declines during the past two months, almost every sector had fewer losses in April than in March, and some saw gains, suggesting that the precipitous impact of the shutdown on job postings may be subsiding. Industries that had more postings during the first week in May than the first week in April include Wholesale Trade, Information, and Transportation & Warehousing.

Job postings from HWOL are one indicator of labor market activity that should be examined along with other measures. For example, job postings by firms categorized by industry are not the same as vacancy data derived from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Openings and Labor Turnover (BLS JOLTS) program which attempts to give a comprehensive view of the entire economy. By their nature, some industries such as Finance or Education and Health Services have a larger share of total job postings than their corresponding employment share, while industries such as Leisure and Hospitality are underrepresented as they’re less likely to post ads for openings online.For more info on Industry Employment and Industry Job ads, see:

There is no question that the labor market has experienced a severe decline due to the COVID-19 health crisis. Nevertheless, many businesses continue to seek workers. While postings are well below year-ago levels, there are new postings each week in every sector of the Connecticut economy.

For more info on HWOL, see:
For more info on CT DOL HWOL publications, see:
For more info on Industry Employment and Industry Job ads, see:

State of Connecticut Department of Labor

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Current Connecticut Labor Situation

Current Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)

Current Business and Employment Changes Announced in the News Media

Current Labor Market Information - At-A-Glance

Connecticut Help Wanted OnLine Data Series (HWOL)

State of Connecticut Department of Labor - Office of Research
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