Numbers released by the Connecticut Department of Labor on Thursday show the state has gained jobs recently, but Governor M. Jodi Rell and gubernatorial candidate and New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. disagree over how accurately these figures reflect the state economy’s condition.
The state’s Department of Labor announced Thursday that the state gained 1,700 jobs over the last month. Although Rell attributed the gains to an increasingly strong state economy, DeStefano said that Rell is underplaying unemployment problems and that Connecticut is still far behind other states in job growth.
According to the statement issued by the department, the state gained 1,700 jobs in non-farm industries in September, bringing the total number of non-farm jobs to 1,674,000. Government and the educational and health services sectors saw the largest increases, gaining 1,100 and 1,000 jobs each, while manufacturing and tourism sustained losses of 800 and 600 jobs, respectively. State Labor Economist John Tirinzonie said in the statement that with the addition of 2400 jobs over the last three months, Connecticut has experienced 12 consecutive quarters of job growth.
Rell said in a statement that Connecticut must continue to be as business-friendly as possible.
“The gain of 1,700 jobs over the past month is great news and proof that our economy is gaining strength,” she said. “Behind every one of these jobs is a success story for a Connecticut household and a Connecticut employer.”
But in a statement released by DeStefano’s mayoral campaign staff on Oct. 5, DeStefano accused Rell of misleading voters, referring to the new quarterly report from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation which ranks Connecticut 45th in job growth in the United States. As opposed to Rell’s ad campaign, which claims that Connecticut is a leader in creating new jobs, DeStefano said Connecticut is in fact behind Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. DeStefano added that Connecticut’s 45th position according to the FDIC is one lower than the last quarter, which he said shows that the state is moving in the wrong direction.
“I’m an optimist,” DeStefano said in the statement. “I believe Connecticut can do better. We can be a national leader in job growth and we can help businesses succeed. That’s not happening right now, in part because Gov. Rell doesn’t even acknowledge there’s a problem.”
Ward 7 Alderwoman Bitsie Clark said DeStefano’s criticisms are valid as there are huge numbers of unemployed people who have not been touched by the job increase, but she added that the gradual increase in job numbers has in fact greatly benefited downtown New Haven over the last 15 years.
“I’m very happy with the direction things are going in,” she said.
DeStefano will face Rell in the gubernatorial election on Nov. 7.