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New jobs increase on Long Island as schools hire and classes shrink

In September, Long Island saw a net increase

In September, Long Island saw a net increase of 26,400 jobs on a month-over-month basis., Above, Jamesport's hardware store this week. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

Long Island job growth improved last month with significant gains in the transportation and warehousing sector, though most of the growth came from an influx in public school hiring for the fall semester, state data released Thursday show.

In September, Long Island saw a net increase of 26,400 jobs on a month-over-month basis, marking a 2.2% increase over August’s jobs report. Revised numbers show that the Island saw an increase of 9,800 jobs in August.

Despite the improvement in the region’s job growth, much of the gains can be attributed to above-average hiring in public education.

Public school education, a jobs sector under the umbrella of government occupations, saw a month-over-month increase of 19,100 jobs. While seasonal gains in public education are routine, this year’s gain is above average, signaling increased hiring of teachers and other school staff.

"I think a lot of schools are hiring extra teachers so they can have smaller class sizes," said Shital Patel, labor market analyst in the Labor Department's Hicksville office.

When gains from government jobs are excluded, Long Island’s month-over-month increase in jobs stood at 11,700 in September.

"While total nonfarm job growth on Long Island accelerated between August and September on a seasonally adjusted basis, growth was not broad-based," Patel said. "Public schools hired 19,100 staff in September, compared to an average of 12,800, as schools required more teachers and staff members to safely reopen."

Despite school hiring’s outsized impact on September’s job figures, the region did see increases in other sectors, including the transportation and warehousing sector and the social assistance sector.

Transportation and warehousing added 7,600 jobs last month, well above its typical seasonal jump of 3,700 jobs. Much of this may be attributable to increased levels of online shopping and the e-commerce industry’s need for "more last-mile warehouses and delivery drivers," Patel said.

The social assistance sector, which includes child day care services and community food services like food banks, also saw a jump above its normal seasonal gain, adding 3,600 jobs last month compared to an average gain of 700 jobs.

Patel said it’s hard to tell whether the increase in the category is due to a greater need in child care services or a pandemic-related need for more social assistance.

Jobless claims on Long Island rose modestly last week to 5,746, the state Labor Department reported Thursday.

Unemployment claims for the week ended Oct. 10, the most recent data, showed a 4.45% increase in jobless filings over the prior week, which had a reported 5,501. Claims on the Island have remained stubbornly high despite significant decreases from earlier in the pandemic.

Long Island hit a record high of more than 59,000 new jobless claims in one week in April.

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