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CT. Dept. Of Labor: Unemployment Rate Down Slightly - Pandemic Continues to Impact Payroll Jobs

Pandemic Continues to Impact Payroll Jobs

(WETHERSFIELD,CT) – Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOL) Commissioner Kurt Westby released the unemployment numbers for December 2020. The unemployment rate ticked down slightly from 8.2% in November to 8.0% in December. Connecticut lost 3,400 payroll jobs in the same month.


Commissioner Westby said, “Connecticut continues to see the impact of the pandemic in declines in the restaurant industry and hospitality sector. It’s reasonable to assume many of these jobs will return  once the pandemic is under control, vaccinations roll out, and people begin to get back to a life where they eat out, shop, and travel. However, right now these areas are being hit hard.”

Patrick Flaherty, Acting Director of the CTDOL Office of Research said, “While the second month of job declines is disappointing, the details reveal underlying resilience in the economy. The largest December declines were in industries directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic such as accommodation and food service. On the other hand, manufacturing, construction, and finance each increased in December.” In December 2020, manufacturing, construction, and finance were growth sectors, while accommodation and food service sectors experienced pandemic-related declines.

CTDOL economist Patrick Flaherty has additional information in the short video segments linked below:


#DOLDaily December 2020 Labor Report Major Takeaways

#DOLDaily “A Very Difficult Year.” Looking Back on 2020

#DOLDaily Pandemic vs. Great Recession in the Labor Market


Labor Situation December 2020 Header


Connecticut payroll jobs fall 3,400 in December with unemployment rate down to 8.0%


WETHERSFIELD, January 25, 2021 – Connecticut payroll employment declined by another 3,400 jobs in December 2020 (-0.2%) after a revised 3,400 decrease in November. This is the second monthly drop after six consecutive increases. Statewide employment is now 102,700 (-6.1%) positions lower than a year ago at 1,590,800 jobs. The preliminary estimated November 2020 job loss of 1,600 was revised lower by 1,800. Nonfarm industry job estimates are from the business establishment survey conducted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) program.


“While the second month of job declines is disappointing, the details reveal underlying resilience in the economy” said Patrick Flaherty, Acting Director of the Office of Research at the Connecticut Department of Labor. “The largest December declines were in industries directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic such as accommodation and food service. On the other hand, manufacturing, construction and finance each increased in December.”

Private sector employment fell by 1,000 jobs (-0.1%) to 1,372,900 in December 2020 and is lower by 84,200 (-5.8%) jobs since December 2019 while the government supersector dropped 2,400 jobs (-1.1%) to a level of 217,900 and is now down by 18,500 jobs (-7.8%) over the year.  The government supersector includes all federal, state and local employment, including public education and Native American casino employment located on tribal land. Goods producing sectors are stronger (3,000, manufacturing and construction/mining) again this month while service providing sectors (-6,400, the rest) are still weaker — reflecting the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unusual seasonal patterns may also be affecting the December numbers. For example, delivery services saw a smaller hiring increase than usual during December because they had increased staff earlier in the year as demand for delivery services was strong throughout most of 2020. This made December look relatively weaker.


Five of the ten major industry supersectors had employment gains in December.


Increasing Sectors

Industry Sector

Amount of




December 2020






Construction and Mining




Professional & Business Services




Financial Activities








Five industry supersectors had December 2020 declines.


Declining Sectors

Industry Sector

Amount of




December 2020


Leisure & Hospitality








Trade, Transportation, & Utilities




Education and Health Services




Other Services





Connecticut Labor Market Areas (LMAs): Four of the six LMAs seasonally adjusted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics posted small employment gains in December 2020, while two LMAs declined. The Norwich–New London–Westerly LMA (0.8%, 116,800) led all regional labor markets in December, increasing by 900 positions. The New Haven LMA (0.3%, 277,000) was next adding 800 jobs in December 2020. The Hartford LMA (0.1%, 558,700) added 700 jobs while the Waterbury LMA (0.8%, 61,700) also chipped in 500 positions. The Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk LMA (-0.3%, 367,500) was lower in December, losing 1,200 positions. And the Danbury LMA (-1.0%, 72,300) decreased by 700 jobs.


Note: The six major Connecticut LMAs are estimated independently from the statewide data by the BLS and cover more than 90% of the nonfarm employment in the state. Thus, estimates will not fully sum to the statewide total.


Hours and Earnings: The private sector workweek, not seasonally adjusted, averaged 34.2 hours in December 2020, up one-tenth of an hour from December 2019 (0.3%). Average hourly earnings at $34.39, not seasonally adjusted, were up $0.57 (1.7%) from the December 2019 estimate($33.82). Average private sector weekly pay tallied $1,176.14, up $22.88 from a year ago (2.0%). The 12-month percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U, U.S. City Average, not seasonally adjusted) in December 2020 was 1.4%. Current all-employee private sector hours and earnings estimates can be volatile due to fluctuating sample responses.


Labor Force Data (residential household survey)


The official December 2020 unemployment rate for Connecticut was estimated by the BLS Local Area Unemployment Statistics program (LAUS) to be 8.0% (seasonally adjusted), lower by 0.2 percentage points from the November 2020 level of 8.2%. The Connecticut unemployment rate was 3.8% in December 2019.  The US jobless rate in December 2020 was 6.7%, unchanged from November’s rate. The US rate was 3.6% a year ago.


Data users must be cautious about trying to compare or reconcile UI claims data with the official unemployment figures derived from the household survey. For additional insight into the Connecticut labor market during the COVID-19 pandemic please see the analysis linked here: Please note that there are conceptual, coverage, and scope differences between the two data sources.

Unemployment claims for first-time filers in Connecticut were an average of 5,408 per week in December 2020, down 1,330 from the November 2020 (-19.7%) level but higher by 1,262 claims (30.4%) from the average weekly level of 4,146 in December 2019.


The nonfarm employment estimate, derived from a survey of businesses, is a measure of jobs in the state; the unemployment rate and labor force estimates are based on a household survey, and measure the work status of people who live in Connecticut. Overall, as the national and state economies recover, volatility in monthly numbers can be expected. Job and employment estimates are best understood in the context of their movement over several months rather than observed changes in a single month’s value.


Next Connecticut Labor Situation release: Friday, March 12, 2021
(preliminary January 2021 and revised 2020 data on the new benchmark)


Media Contact:
CTDOL Communications Unit
200 Folly Brook Boulevard, Wethersfield, CT 06109-1114
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