Restaurants and recreation businesses led Long Island in job gains last month, yet the sector remains well below pre-pandemic hiring levels , state data shows.
The Island saw 16,900 net new jobs in June, slightly above the average gain of 16,100 jobs, the state Labor Department reported Thursday.
Despite adding 97,600 jobs over the year in June, the Island has not fully recovered from the impacts of COVID, remaining 119,500, or 10.2%, below employment levels reported in June 2019.
"Job growth in June was in line with what we typically see for the month and most sectors were in line with normal seasonal job gains," said Shital Patel, labor market analyst with the Labor Department’s Hicksville office.
One notable exception, Patel said, was the construction industry, which lost 100 jobs in June on a monthly basis when a gain of 1,300 is typical.
"Labor shortages and material cost increases that have plagued the construction industry nationwide may be contributing to slowdown in the region."
Leisure and hospitality had the highest number of net new jobs on a monthly basis for the third month in a row, adding 8,400 jobs last month, above the average pace of 7,500 for June.
"Job growth in the leisure and hospitality sector has been accelerating slightly but remains well below pre-pandemic levels," Patel said. "This year, the sector has added 21,500 jobs between March and June, slightly above the average gain of 19,000."
But even with faster growth, the restaurants, bars and hotels have yet to recapture all the jobs lost to the pandemic shutdown.
The sector "was the hardest hit during the pandemic," and remains 29,100 jobs, or 20.7%, below its reported June 2019 levels, Patel said.
John A. Rizzo, chief economist for the Long Island Association business group, said the Island’s job landscape is "improving but we’re still not at pre-pandemic levels. That goes across the board."
Rizzo said the region, like the nation overall, continues to face some headwinds as it slowly replaces jobs lost last year, including the federal enhancement of $300 a week in unemployment aid and jobseekers’ hesitance to work in close proximity with other employees, a logistic concern in many restaurant and hospitality businesses.
Overall, he said, with many businesses facing staffing issues, the Island’s labor market is advantageous to workers.
"The labor market is a sellers’ market," Rizzo said.