The state's unemployment rate dropped to its lowest number in about three years in December 2011 – and Meriden's unemployment rate fell with it, according to figures just released by Connecticut's Labor Department.
In December 2011, 8.2 percent of the state's workforce was unemployed, the Department reported Monday. In Meriden, that percentage was about 1 point higher, at 9.3 percent. That means, of 31,820 city residents in the labor force, about 2,950 were unemployed in December.
Though higher than the state average, 9.3 percent is well below the 11.8 percent unemployment rate in Meriden recorded at the beginning of 2011. The 2.5 percent drop in 2011 means that the city's rate has fallen more quickly than state's, which has seen a .8 percent decrease during the same period.
Connecticut's statewide unemployment numbers for December are lower than the national unemployment rate for the month, which was 8.5 percent.
The December figures signal a continued climb to economic recovery in the state, Labor Department officials say, but add that projections say job growth will be similar to that of last year. The state added 9,000 jobs in 2011.
“After a disappointing performance in the third quarter of 2011, it appears that Connecticut’s labor market has returned to a modest pace towards recovery,” said Andy Condon, the state's Director of the Office of Research in a Monday media release. "Our declining unemployment rate is particularly good news. However, forecasts for job growth in 2012 remain cautious and uncertain with most analysts predicting levels much like what we saw this past year.”
Nearby towns had lower unemployent rates than Meriden in December: Southington's was 6.6 percent, Cheshire's was 6.1 percent, Berlin had 6.4 percent, and Wallingford had 6.8 percent. Other towns with a comparable number of workers varied, with 7.7 percent in Bristol, 10.5 in New Britain, 6.6 in Middletown, and 7.2 in Manchester, according to the Department of Labor.