FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Fairfield’s unemployment rate reached a three-year high last month. But hundreds more Fairfielders are working than at the beginning of 2012.
A total of 2,528 Fairfield residents were unemployed last month, according to the latest data from the Connecticut Department of Labor. With a total work force of 30,359, that marks an unemployment rate of 8.3 percent, the highest level in the town since July 2009.
Fairfield’s unemployment rate hit its lowest level in three years in April, at 6.4 percent. But the rate has been steadily climbing since and rose 0.5 percentage points in July.
But the number of Fairfielders listed as employed was 27,831 at the end of July. That’s 533 more people at work than at the unemployment rate’s low point in April 2012.
The trend of adding jobs with rising unemployment also occurred statewide this summer. The statewide seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 8.5 percent at the end of July marked its highest level in nine months. Yet 5,100 more Connecticut residents were employed than at the same point in 2011.
“The complete disagreement between our two key indicators of labor market health in Connecticut make an assessment of market conditions difficult at best this month,” Andy Condon, director of the office of research at the Connecticut Department of Labor, said in a statement.
Fairfield County as a whole saw a similar trend. The latest countywide unemployment rate is 8.4 percent, the highest mark since March 2011. But 450,739 people had jobs in Fairfield County at the end of July, or 7,238 more than in April, when unemployment hit its low point for 2012.
The numbers could indicate that more people in the town of Fairfield and throughout the state have decided to begin job hunting again, rejoining the state’s total labor force. Fairfield’s total number of workers rose by 1,886, or 6.6 percent, since the end of 2011, according to the Department of Labor’s statistics.
But Condon was not prepared to offer an explanation for the disparity between job growth and unemployment rate.
“These programs have proven vital to our understanding of economic conditions in Connecticut, but will have to wait until more data comes in to see if July’s results were a statistical anomaly or an early indicator of a turning point in the economy, as yet uncorroborated by other data,” he said.