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LI adds jobs as construction, health care continue to boom

Long Island's job market continues to accelerate, adding

Long Island's job market continues to accelerate, adding 19,200 jobs in July over the past year with big gains from the health care and construction industries, state data released Thursday show. Credit: Getty Images

Long Island's job market continued to surge last month, adding 19,200 workers compared with one year earlier, with solid gains from the health care, tourism and construction industries, state data released Thursday show.

The increase in Nassau and Suffolk counties, up 1.5 percent from July 2014, marks the third month in a row of accelerated job growth. It came entirely from the private sector and despite an overall decrease of 700 government jobs from this time last year, according to the state Labor Department.

"Job growth is quite strong on Long Island," said labor analyst Shital Patel, in the department's Hicksville office.

The region, however, continues to trail the state's and nation's job growth rates, which both increased 2.1 percent last month.

On Long Island, six of the nine private industry sectors tracked by the Labor Department posted year-over-year gains. The construction industry added 4,400 jobs. Education and health services added 8,800 jobs. And the leisure and hospitality sector, which includes hotels and restaurants, added 2,900 jobs.

While the total number of jobs on Long Island are up compared with one year ago, the number fell from June to July. That's typical for this time year, economists said, as businesses shed workers before August slowdowns.

In past years, Long Island businesses have cut an average of 5,100 jobs annually between June and July. This year, however, they only shed 2,500. And some sectors added jobs. Retail businesses hired 900 workers. And restaurants added 2,000.

"This points to a strong summer season for the tourism and leisure sectors on Long Island," said John Rizzo, chief economist of the Long Island Association, the region's largest business group.

Yet not all the news was good. The Island's highest-paying sector, financial activities, which includes banking, insurance and real estate, continues to flounder, losing 2,000 jobs in July compared with a year earlier.

And while the number of construction jobs has increased since one year ago, it fell by 2,000 between June and July. Patel, however, said that drop comes on the heels of three months of record growth for Long Island construction jobs.

"We added almost three times the normal number of jobs in April, May and June," Patel said. "So the tiny decline in July doesn't really concern me."

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