Long Island extended its strong pattern of job growth in September, led by employment gains in the health-services industry.

The Island had 20,200 more jobs in September, compared with September 2014, data from the New York State Labor Department released Thursday show. That number was slightly below August's year-over-year increase of 20,800, the strongest for any month since 2013. The August number was revised from 20,500.

"The overall numbers are good," said Shital Patel, labor-market analyst in the Labor Department's Hicksville office.

The private sector added 21,000 jobs, or a 1.9 percent increase, besting the state's 1.7 percent increase in the same year-over-year period. The Island's government sector lost 800 jobs.

While the year-over-year numbers are positive, some uneven performances within the latest 12-month period could portend weaker overall job growth in the near term.

For example, while private-sector employment was up strongly compared to September 2014, the number of private-sector jobs decreased by 6,300 between August and September, nearly three times the average loss of 2,300 for that period, Patel said.

And the construction sector, which gained the second-highest number of jobs year-over-year in September -- 4,900 -- and continues to set year-over-year records, gained just 100 net jobs over the period from July through September, Patel said. The sector is "sort of stabilizing" right now," she said.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

The private-education and health-services category led year-over-year employment gains, with 9,300 more jobs. Almost all of those jobs were added in health care, mostly in ambulatory care, which includes urgent-care center and home-health-aide jobs.

Among the sectors with shrinking employment in the latest 12-month period, financial activities lost the most jobs, down 2,100.

All told, Long Island's total number of jobs rose to 1.314 million, from 1.294 million the year before. The department uses year-over-year numbers because the local data aren't adjusted to reflect seasonal swings in employment.

Even some companies in shrinking sectors, like financial activities, are hiring.

West Islip resident Michael Locorriere, 47, joined Islandia-based Empire National Bank in June as its executive vice president and director of municipal banking, a new position. The former Suffolk County legislator previously worked at Community National Bank in Melville until the bank was purchased this year. Management asked him to stay on, but Empire, whose top management Locorriere knew and kept in touch with, wanted to expand its municipal banking and offered him a job.

Knowledge and experience "are all very important," Locorriere said. "But reputation and relationships in the industry are key to finding employment."

On Tuesday the department will release the Island's September unemployment rate. In August, the rate dropped to 4.5 percent, from 5.1 percent a year earlier.