WETHERSFIELD, Conn. (AP) _ Connecticut labor officials said Thursday they’re buoyed by the most recent statistics showing 6,300 new jobs in April, but fewer than half of all jobs lost in the recession have been recovered.

The state Department of Labor reported that Connecticut’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8 percent.

“Although our monthly data can be volatile, Connecticut’s job growth tempo picked up considerably last month,” said Andy Condon, director of the state agency’s Office of Research. “The state appears to be experiencing a solid and more typical spring seasonal job buildup. “

Connecticut gained 9,600 jobs in the first four months of the year, averaging 2,400 new jobs a month, he said. The state has added 10,800 jobs, a slight increase of 0.7 percent, since April 2012 and is now at a new employment recovery high point of nearly 1.6 million jobs.

But Connecticut lags behind the rest of the country in job creation. Nationally, hiring in April drove down the unemployment rate to a four-year low of 7.5 percent.

Connecticut’s largest business group said the numbers “paint a more positive employment picture” in Connecticut. Still, the state has gained back only 47 percent of jobs lost during the recession, “so it shows we still have a long way to go,” said Peter Gioia, economist for the Connecticut Business & Industry Association.

Economist Don Klepper-Smith, an adviser to former Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell, said the April job numbers show the state’s economy is expanding, “even though it is somewhat muted” compared with previous business cycles.

The state reported that seven of 10 major industry groups posted job gains in April, led by construction and mining. Declines were posted in two groups and manufacturing was unchanged.

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


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