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State Unemployment Rises As Job Growth Stalls

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WETHERSFIELD, Conn. (AP) _ Job growth in Connecticut was essentially flat in June as the unemployment rate edged up to 8.1 percent, the state Labor Department said Thursday.

Employers posted 500 new jobs, a small gain, but one that marked the fourth consecutive monthly jobs increase and fifth in the first six months of 2013.

The unemployment rate ticked up from 8 percent, where it stood for four months in a row. The U.S. unemployment rate was 7.6 percent in June.

A longer school year due to two storms in the school year, Superstorm Sandy in October and a massive snowstorm in February, disrupted hiring and may influence summer hiring patterns, labor officials said.

Connecticut has added 10,600 nonfarm jobs since June 2012. The private sector posted 3,200 fewer jobs in June than in May, but it’s been up 8,400 over the year.

Just three of 10 industry sectors added jobs in June: government, which was helped by the longer public school year inflating local government employment numbers; leisure and hospitality; and arts, entertainment and recreation.

Connecticut has recovered 58,700 jobs, or fewer than half of the 121,200 jobs that were lost in the recession from March 2008 to February 2010.

Don Klepper-Smith, an economist who once advised former Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell, said the Connecticut economy continues to make modest progress, though data generally suggest below average economic growth in Connecticut.

“The good news continues to be that we’re now moving into the so-called `growth phase’ of domestic expansion, even though it is somewhat muted relative to prior business cycles,” Klepper-Smith said.

At the current pace, full job recovery is not expected in Connecticut until early 2016, he said.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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