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Conn. jobless rate falls despite decline in jobs

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News,Business,Jobs,Unemployment

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut's unemployment rate dropped to 7.4 percent in December despite a decline in the number of jobs, labor officials said Monday.

The state reported a loss of 3,900 jobs, about 100 more than were added in November. But the state Labor Department said the December count appears to have been affected by poor winter weather around the time of the survey.

It was the fourth consecutive monthly decline in the unemployment rate, falling from 8.1 percent in August.

Nationally, the unemployment rate was 6.7 percent in December.

Generally, the recent improvement in the state's unemployment rate appears to owe more to people gaining employment than job-seekers giving up on their searches, said Andy Condon, director of the Labor Department's research office.

"On a brighter note, the state's unemployment rate continues to fall and for better reasons than has sometimes been the case in the recent past," he said. "Declines in the number of unemployed residents largely were the result of employment rather than individuals leaving the labor force."

Joe Brennan, senior vice president of public policy for the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, said the state gained about 11,500 jobs in 2013, restoring about half the jobs lost during the recession.

Job declines were in areas such as professional services, manufacturing and government, but Brennan said growth in financial services jobs shows a pattern of recovery in one of the hardest-hit sectors of Connecticut's economy.

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