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Long Island saw slower job growth last month than in September

Employers continue to cautiously add jobs in the

Employers continue to cautiously add jobs in the region; above, Bay Shore's Main Street this month. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

Long Island job growth slowed in October after making significant gains in some sectors the month before, state data released Thursday shows.

In October, the Island saw a net increase of 18,400 jobs on a month-over-month basis, making for a 1.5% increase over September growth, according to state Labor Department data. September’s month-over-month growth clocked in at 2.2%, or more than 26,000 jobs.

Monthly job numbers have been "up and down" throughout the recovery, said Shital Patel, labor market analyst in the department's Hicksville office.

"It’s been a very uneven recovery in the six months that we’ve been adding jobs," Patel said. "We haven’t had two consecutive months of slowdowns or increases. There’s no trend right now."

While the region has seen monthly gains in jobs for the last six months, the Island was still down 114,400 jobs in October from the same month a year ago.

"Employers continue to cautiously add jobs in the region," Patel said. "While October represented the sixth consecutive month of job gains, total nonfarm employment is still 8.4% below year-ago levels."

Education and health services, a sector that includes ambulatory health services like doctor offices and outpatient facilities, as well as private education, led job gains with an increase of 6,700 jobs on a month-over-month basis.

The leisure and hospitality sector saw a monthly net loss of 1,300 jobs in October. However, restaurants and bars, a subsector within the category, saw a month-over-month increase of 3,000 jobs when a loss of 1,600 is typical.

Patel said restaurants may be in the process of hiring back the workforce they shed earlier in the year, leading to the atypical surge in hiring.

"While restaurants have been adding jobs for six consecutive months, the industry is still 27.8% below year-ago levels," Patel said.

Retail also saw an uncharacteristic gain in October, adding 3,300 jobs on a month-over-month basis when a gain of 1,800 is average.

"It’s difficult to make any assumptions about this data because we don’t know which portion of the gain is due to typical seasonal hiring and how much is due to stores reopening," Patel said.

On a year over year basis, leisure and hospitality is down 35,500 jobs; education and health services is down 26,600 jobs; trade, transportation, and utilities is down 16,200 jobs; professional and business services is down 13,300 jobs; and manufacturing is down by 7,600 jobs.

The state also released jobless claims data Thursday, showing that 4,549 new claims for unemployment insurance were filed on Long Island last week — 207 more than the week before.

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