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Annual watchdog report shows Connecticut workers lag in post-pandemic recovery

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Connecticut’s overall job recovery from the pandemic is lagging compared to the rest of the United States.

The state is expected to close its short fall by June 2023, a year later than the rest of the country, according the latest annual "State of Working Connecticut" report by the Connecticut Voices for Children on Wednesday.

The report provides a detailed overview of Connecticut's job recovery status following the pandemic, along with findings on wage gaps and wage inequalities found throughout the state.

“The state's precarious position as it relates to employment and wage equity is something we should be paying close attention to,” said Emily Byrne, executive director. “And tracking with regularity.”

The report shows this slow recovery is due in part to the lack of local and state government jobs, alongside the state's diminished labor force participation rate and increased unemployment rate. These factors may slow the growth of Connecticut’s tax base, but the wage gap between lower and middle-class workers against high-class workers has begun to shrink.

“The recent greater real wage growth for low/middle wage workers in Connecticut is essential for reducing the state's high level of wage inequality,” said Patrick O’Brien, the research and policy director. “And in turn, income and wealth inequality.”

Due to the shrinking wage gap, the standard of living for minimum wage workers is expected to increase.

The report had a list of recommendations to address Connecticut's employment issue, wage growth and wage inequality.

These recommendations included:

  • Continue to raise the minimum wage, even if a recession occurs, to a state living wage average of $20.25, which would directly support communities suffering from wage inequality. The state is scheduled to reach $15 per hour in 2023.
  • Make child care more affordable and accessible, while making the state tax system more equal.
  • Require employers to provide a fair work week schedule for low-wage workers and limit employers from making non-compete agreements since they prevent low-wage workers from changing their job and increasing their pay.
  • Increase union coverage by providing more funds to fill public sector jobs which would strengthen the economy and decrease wage inequality.
Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.