HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut's economy added 5,800 jobs in May while the unemployment rate held steady at 6.9 percent, the state Department of Labor said Thursday.
State officials say it was the fourth straight month of employment increases and Connecticut has added 12,500 jobs this year.
The fast-rising labor force suggests that unemployed people who had been discouraged about the economy are returning to the labor force and searching for work, officials said.
"At this point, the resiliency of the recovery appears to be bringing people back into the labor force," said Andy Condon, director of the Office of Research.
While the jobless rate remained unchanged from the previous month, Peter Gioia, an economist for the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, said there is a positive reason for that.
"If you take a look at the labor force, we've seen a gain of 13,000 participants so that means more people are looking for work and because of that, you'll have somewhat elevated unemployment,"
Gioia said there is still much to be cautious about, noting that Connecticut has recovered 60 percent of jobs lost during the recession while the U.S. as a whole has recovered 100 percent.
The U.S. unemployment rate for May remained at 6.3 percent. That's the lowest rate in more than five years.
The nonfarm employment level in Connecticut reached 1,665,500, marking a new high point since the recession, officials said. The previous high point was reached in December with 1,663,500.