HARTFORD – Connecticut lost 2,700 jobs last month, according to the Department of Labor, but the unemployment rate actually dipped slightly because more state residents continue to give up looking for work, House Republican Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr., said today.
Cafero also said this continuing trend sends “mixed messages” to the public and that the true employment picture is masked by conflicting data. Despite losing those 2,700 jobs in March, Connecticut’s unemployment rate went down from 7.8 percent to 7.7 percent
“The state stops counting those who have exhausted their unemployment benefits. The unemployment rate has gone down over the past few months because fewer people are actually counted in the overall job market,” Cafero said.
Cafero said if the legislature raises the minimum wage in the two weeks as Democrats hope, it will hasten more job losses. Data has consistently shown that raising the minimum wage has not led to creation, but has hurt seasonal industries and young people disproportionately. Companies such as amusement parks will higher fewer people.
Cafero said Republicans are also considering drafting legislation to amend the way the Labor Department computes the unemployment figures to make the job market status clearer. “As lawmakers, we make policy decisions based on the best data we have. We need a truer picture of what is going on in the real world. People and families are still hurting,” Cafero said.
Cafero said the provisions in the Jobs Package approved last October should help expand employment but more is needed to be done. “We need to get rid of more punitive regulations and stop putting more mandates on businesses,” Cafero said.