Cyncal Steel Corp. in North Bay Shore displays a Help Wanted...

Cyncal Steel Corp. in North Bay Shore displays a Help Wanted sign on Dec. 9. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

Long Island’s economy saw its second month of above-average job growth in November, though the economic impacts of Omicron variant on hiring have yet to be seen, state data shows.

The Island added 10,600 jobs on a month-over-month basis in November, marking a record high for the month since the state started tracking these figures in 1990, state Labor Department data released Thursday shows. The growth follows an uptick in jobs in October, though Long Island’s recovery continues at a slow pace.

"The good news is that we’ve had two consecutive months of above-average growth," said Shital Patel, labor market analyst for the Labor Department’s Hicksville office. At the same time, the number of jobs locally remains down significantly when compared to employment levels before the pandemic struck the region in March 2020.

Employment levels in November were down by 101,800 jobs, or 7.5%, from the same month in 2019, Patel said. Though Long Island has yet to recover all jobs lost near the start of the health crisis, Patel said there has been improvement.

In January, Nassau and Suffolk counties remained about 9% below pre-pandemic employment levels, showing that while the job market is improving, it's happeningmore slowly than some might like, Patel said.

In November 2019 there were 1.37 million jobs on the Island. Last month, the Island reported a total of 1.26 million, which is up from the 1.19 million reported in January, according to state data.

Abright spot in the monthly report was the record number of courier and delivery jobs filled in November, when the region added 2,600, or 27.4%, more courier jobs.

Patel said the increase, which mirrors the one seen last year during the same month, is "well above what we’ve seen in prior years," and reflects consumers' growing appetite for online shopping during the pandemic and the holidays.

"The industry has been steadily gaining jobs as e-commerce has been gaining in popularity over traditional brick-and-mortar, and this trend only accelerated during the pandemic," she said.

At the same time, seasonal hiring at brick-and-mortar retailers was "lackluster" in November, adding 3,000 jobs when an increase of 5,100 jobs for the month is typical, Patel said.

While the recovery has been slow going, last month’s numbers point in the right direction, said John Rizzo, economics professor at Stony Brook University.

"We continue to get closer and closer to pre-pandemic levels," Rizzo said.

Although he expects there to be a holiday time spike in the number of coronavirus cases, especially given the virulently infectious nature of Omicron, Rizzo said the region is better equipped to handle a surge this year than it was in 2020.

"I expect we’re going to see that kind of spike in terms of cases, but I think it will go away faster," Rizzo said. "We have more and better treatments and vaccines to fight COVID. We’re not going to see a big spike in hospitalizations and deaths."

All of that is good news for the Island’s recovering economy.

"Once we get past the holiday season, I think we’ll see employment continue to grow," he said. "The first quarter of the year will be a good quarter, but that might not be the case in January."

The nation also saw a glimmer of good news Thursday, as weekly jobless claims stayed near record low levels.

The number of jobless claims nationwide rose to 206,000 the week ended December 11, an increase of 18,000 from the week prior, federal Labor Department data shows.

Despite the uptick, the four-week moving average for jobless claims – a measure that is less susceptible to week to week volatility – fell to 203,750 claims, the lowest level of claims for the month since November 1969.

NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano and Newsday food writer Marie Elena Martinez take a look at the hottest places to dine on Long Island this summer.  Credit: Randee Daddona; Newsday / A.J. Singh

A taste of summer on Long Island NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano and Newsday food writer Marie Elena Martinez take a look at the hottest places to dine on Long Island this summer. 

NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano and Newsday food writer Marie Elena Martinez take a look at the hottest places to dine on Long Island this summer.  Credit: Randee Daddona; Newsday / A.J. Singh

A taste of summer on Long Island NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano and Newsday food writer Marie Elena Martinez take a look at the hottest places to dine on Long Island this summer. 

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