Connecticut Jobs Surge In June 2020
This article was published on: 07/16/20 5:23 PM by Mike Minarsky
WETHERSFIELD, July 16, 2020 – Preliminary Connecticut nonfarm job estimates from the business payroll survey administered by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show the state gained 73,300 net jobs (5.1%) in June 2020, to a level of 1,509,900 seasonally adjusted. However, over the year, nonagricultural employment in the state fell by 172,700 (-10.3%) seasonally adjusted. The May 2020 job gain of 25,800 was revised up by 2,600 jobs. The change in payroll job estimates is considered statistically significant.
“Connecticut saw the largest single month gain in jobs on record in June,” said Andy Condon, Director of the Office of Research at the Connecticut Department of Labor. “However, this gain has to be viewed from the perspective of the unprecedented job losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The largest job gains in June were seen in those industries most impacted by pandemic closures – Leisure & Hospitality, Trade, and Education & Healthcare.”
Nonfarm Jobs Detail (business establishment survey)
Private sector employment recovered by 68,200 (5.5%) to 1,297,200 jobs over the month in June and are now down by 150,800 (-10.4%) seasonally-adjusted jobs over June 2019. The government supersector grew by 5,100 jobs in June to a total of 212,700 and is down by 21,900 jobs (-9.3%) 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.
Eight of the ten major industry supersectors employment gains in June. Improving supersectors included:
- Leisure & Hospitality – (21,900 gained, 26.6% change, 104,300 total jobs)
- Trade, Transportation & Utilities – (19,100, 7.7%, 265,900)
- Education & Health – (16,300, 5.4%, 316,000)
- Other Services – (6,800, 14.9%, 52,300)
- Government – (5,100, 2.5%, 212,700)
- Construction & Mining – (2,800, 5.2%, 56,800)
- Manufacturing – (1,100, 0.7%, 154,300)
- Professional & Business services – (600, 0.3%, 200,900)
July 16, 2020
(Wethersfield, CT) – Today, Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOL) Commissioner Kurt Westby and Deputy Commissioner Danté Bartolomeo held a briefing call with members of the media to give updates on the numbers of unemployment applications the agency has received, the newest unemployment figures released by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the progress to stand up the federally-funded consumer contact center.
The consumer contact center, a $4 million federally-funded initiative, is now operational. The contact center includes a new bilingual phone system that provides a call-back option for anyone on hold for more than five minutes; a new web page that modernizes how information is presented for the five state and federal benefits programs; a live chat feature; and Tina, a new bilingual virtual assistant who can answer questions and help a customer submit a question online.
Commissioner Westby said, “The pandemic continues to have a major impact on business, industry, and the workforce and is resulting in the continued extraordinarily high volume of unemployment applications—we’ve received the equivalent of five years of claims in five months. The consumer contact center gives us more ways to assist residents as they navigate filing for any of the five benefits programs currently available. The additional staff and new platforms represent strong progress for claimants—but will not mitigate entirely the processing times or wait times for residents. I want to thank our federal partners for their assistance and support.”
Deputy Commissioner Bartolomeo said, “The contact center gives us a much more modern and comprehensive approach to connecting directly with claimants, something we lost when COVID 19 forced the closure of the 18 American Jobs Centers. We do not expect an immediate end to all wait times, but the contact center has allowed us to increase the number of calls we take and the number of cases we can handle in a day. It also gives us the opportunity to speak directly with our customers, help solve problems, and answer questions.”
In addition to new communications platforms, the federal funding has allowed CTDOL to bring 60 new customer service representatives on board. While new staff training generally takes three to four months and includes classroom and practical experience, in an effort to expedite the number of customer service representatives available, CTDOL has begun moving staff into the field after only one month of training by pairing them with experienced customer service representatives who can mentor them.
Federal funding for the contact center expires at the end of the year.
Since March 13, 2020, CTDOL:
· Has received 708,462 applications and processed 685,820 of them. We are currently working on applications from June 30, 2020; and
· Has about 300,000 weekly claims filed (state and federal programs combined)
Application processed time that was at six weeks at the beginning of the pandemic, hit a low of one week prior to the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Extended Benefits program, is now up to 2-3 weeks due to the addition of those new programs. Prior to the pandemic, CTDOL was processing applications within three days.
CTDOL has paid out a total of $3.8B in state and federal unemployment benefits; $1.35B in state unemployment benefits and $2.46B in federal benefits. The breakdown is as follows:
· $133M in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – for anyone who is not able to collect regular unemployment benefits,
· $61M Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) – for individuals who have exhausted regular UI benefits;
· $164K in state extended benefits, $1.8M in federal extended benefits; and
· $2.46B in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) – the $600 additional weekly benefit that expires July 25, 2020.
The current Trust Fund balance is $122 million. To date, Connecticut DOL officials have not borrowed yet, but are prepared to when it becomes necessary.
Over the past five months, CTDOL estimates it has received around 500 unemployment applications from current, full-time state employees who would be ineligible for unemployment benefits. As required under state law, the agency has reported this to state auditors and begun investigations into these applications. Thus far, CTDOL has not found evidence of fraud by state employees, only that they are victims of identity theft, other criminal activity perpetrated without their knowledge, or that they misunderstood the guidelines around part-time unemployment benefits.
Criminal attacks on CTDOL and all labor departments throughout the country have increased over recent months, triggered by the new federal benefits programs. The Connecticut Department of Labor continues to work with our federal partners, state agencies, law enforcement, and sister agencies to combat all incidences of fraud, shut down fraudulent claims, and protect any employee who may be a victim.