Snow storm buries over 5,000 jobs

Despite a two-week stretch of sub-50 temperatures and clear skies, last month’s blizzard continues to affect New Haven and Connecticut residents.

According to a Connecticut Labor Department report released Thursday, last month’s massive snowstorm significantly impeded businesses in Connecticut and resulted in the loss of 5,700 jobs. The storm, which buried New Haven, Conn. municipalities and much of New England in about three feet of snow, shut down countless office buildings, businesses and restaurants between Feb. 8 and 9. As part of the Labor Department’s research, employers across the state were asked to report job figures, and the survey results indicated a drop-off in employment directly attributable to the storm.

Don Klepper-Smith, chief economist and director of research at New Haven-based research firm DataCore Partners, said that the storm-related job losses make Connecticut an anomaly when compared to the current uptick in employment at a national level. Throughout the country, 236,000 jobs were added during the month of February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“I expected to see a solid job gain in February given the rise of 236,000 new jobs on the domestic front, and so I’d say that the figures were very disappointing and well below expectations,” Klepper-Smith told the New Haven Register.

Although the data cannot pinpoint the specific regions or industry sectors in which the winter storm hampered job growth most, Andy Condon, director of the Labor Department’s office of research, said the net effect of state job loss remains apparent. Despite the snowstorm’s negative impacts, Condon and other state officials said they expect to see improved job numbers in the coming months.

State officials said one of the key reasons the blizzard was so devastating is that many businesses had not fully recovered from Hurricane Sandy at the time the storm struck.

“We are going to feel the impact of this storm for some time,” Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said in a statement to CNN in February.

City Hall Spokeswoman Anna Mariotti said that New Haven fared better during the snowstorm in terms of employment than regions in Connecticut that suffered job losses. She added that overall the snowstorm does not seem to have greatly affected city jobs.

“I haven’t been able to find [data] that indicates this was a problem here in New Haven,” Mariotti said.

But even with the job losses resulting from the blizzard, Connecticut on the whole experienced a rise in employment: The state unemployment rate fell from 8.1 percent to 8 percent between January and February, according to the Connecticut Labor Department.

The national unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent in February, the lowest figure in four years.

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