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COVID-19 and inflation faulted for Connecticut's declining labor production

Bebeto Matthews

A report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a 2.5% decline in labor production across Connecticut last spring.

State health officials said a leading factor in the decline was the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a worker shortage in several sectors.

Eric Gjede, the vice president of public policy with the Connecticut Industry and Business Association, said the state has gained jobs while it recovers from the pandemic, but at a slow pace.

“Even if every person who is collecting unemployment benefits today were to take a job, we would still have 40,000 open jobs in the state,” Gjede said. “While we are gaining jobs back, we are just not gaining them back at the speed of other states.”

Gjede said his team plans to meet with legislative leaders on how to make living conditions in the state more affordable amid record inflation and the ongoing pandemic.

“The number one thing that needs to be done that simply has been ignored by lawmakers year after year is we need to start addressing the cost of living in Connecticut and the cost of doing business here,” Gjede said.

Gjede also said there is reason to be optimistic about job growth in the areas of manufacturing and construction, which in turn will bolster the state’s economy.

Mike Lyle is a former reporter and host at WSHU.