The Long Island economy had 20,500 more jobs in August, compared with a year earlier, the strongest growth in any month since 2013, state Labor Department data released Thursday show.

The private-education and health-services sector led gains, with 9,600 more jobs than the year before. Those figures reflect the increasing number of urgent-care and cancer-care centers and growing demand for home-health services, said Shital Patel, labor-market analyst in the Labor Department's Hicksville office.

"We have definitely been seeing a lot more investment in health care here," she said.

The construction sector came in second, with 5,400 more jobs, buoyed by the many construction projects underway on the Island, such as the $400 million apartment and retail complex in Yaphank.

The financial-activities sector, which includes banking, real estate and insurance, shrank the most, declining by 2,600 jobs as banks continued to consolidate operations, Patel said.

The Island's overall employment climbed to 1.31 million, from 1.29 million the year before. The private sector added 21,500 more jobs, but the government sector declined by 1,000.

Despite the local labor market's strong showing, the private sector's 1.9 percent year-over-year job increase in August fell below the state's 2.1 percent and the nation's 2.3 percent, noted John Rizzo, chief economist for the Long Island Association, the Island's largest business group.

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The data are all based on year-over-year comparisons because the local numbers aren't adjusted to reflect seasonal swings in employment.

Another sector that gained on Long Island was professional and business services, which includes lawyers and accountants. It grew by 1,900 jobs.

Christopher Cheeseman, 40, was rehired by Melville-based Marcum LLP, Long Island's largest accounting firm, in May. The firm has 1,300 employees, including 300 in Melville.

Cheeseman had left the firm in 2009 after nine years to purchase a small accounting firm with a partner. But the Massapequa resident kept in touch with Marcum and said their firms even referred business to each other.

In January, a Marcum partner approached Cheeseman about coming back. Cheeseman, who had started looking for another job in December, couldn't resist.

"There is so much opportunity here," said Cheeseman, who is a Marcum partner. His rehiring, he said, "confirmed that they thought as highly of me as I thought of them."