WETHERSFIELD, Conn. (AP) -- Following an employment decline in January caused by extreme winter weather, Connecticut regained 800 jobs in February as the unemployment rate continued to fall, state officials said Thursday.
The unemployment rate fell to 7 percent in February from 7.2 percent in January, according to the Connecticut Department of Labor. It's still higher than the U.S. rate of 6.7 percent in February.
"February's job report seemed to confirm that weather was partly responsible for January's sharp decline as we saw recovery in several of the industries that had stumbled," said Andy Condon, the department's research director.
Connecticut, he said, is continuing "on the path of job recovery." The decrease in the unemployment rate is the seventh consecutive decline since July, when the unemployment rate was 7.9 percent.
The state had reported that 10,400 jobs were lost in January, with weather the culprit.
The number of unemployed in Connecticut has now decreased by 17,502 since February 2013. Unemployment in Connecticut peaked at 9.5 percent in November 2010.
The state has recovered 59,500 jobs, or nearly half of the 119,100 jobs lost in the economic downturn from March 2008 to February 2010. The private sector is making a strong recovery and has recouped 71,800 of the 112,000 jobs that were lost.
Connecticut's private sector has shown "solid over-the-year growth" of 14,000 jobs, the Labor Department said. In contrast, government shed 1,900 jobs over the month, 3,700 jobs over the year and "remained a drag on overall employment gains," it said.
Since the job recovery began in February 2010, an additional 12,300 public sector jobs have been lost.
Joe Brennan, senior vice president of public policy for the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, said "some troubling trends" persist, such as the loss of 1,900 jobs in manufacturing.
"Connecticut has only recovered about 50 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession, so while we did see some progress in February, we still have a long way to go on the job front," he said.