STAMFORD, Conn. — Stamford has seen its unemployment rate drop a full percentage point from this past July compared with the same month a year ago, according to statistics released by the state.
The city had an unemployment rate of 6.7 percent for July 2013, dropping from a 7.6 percent rate for July 2012, the statistics from the Connecticut Department of Labor said. The city had an unemployment rate of 3.9 percent in July 2007, before the recession hit.
“It is going in the right direction, and is a reflection of the economic development taking place in the city,” said Laure Aubuchon, director of economic development for the city.
Aubuchon specifically mentioned the addition of the Beer Garden, which added about 60 jobs in the city, and NBC Sports, which opened its Stamford headquarters and brought more jobs to the area, as key reasons that unemployment has dipped.
“That’s a game changer,” she said of having large companies, such as NBC Sports, move to Stamford.
The city is also doing well compared with other major markets across the state. Hartford had an unemployment rate of 16.1 percent, Waterbury was at 13.3 percent, and New Haven was at 12.4 percent last month, the statistics said. The Bridgeport-Stamford labor market also remained under the state unemployment rate, 7.7 percent vs. 8.3 percent for July.
“We have had a lot of negatives over the last couple of years but it’s starting to pick up,” said Joseph McGee, vice president, public programs and policy, for the Business Council of Fairfield County.
Growth in professional services in the area and proximity to New York City directly benefit New Canaan and are two factors that have helped keep the unemployment rate lower than in the rest of the state. McGee also pointed to the growing labor force in the county as another positive sign for the economy.
Despite the continued improvement, McGee said the area does have work to do to. He said the jobless rate in the area should be 5 percent to 6 percent, which is still a far cry from the early 1990s when Stamford's rate was about 2 percent.
“We were really humming,” he said.