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LI job market continues its summer momentum

Lorenzo Abbatiello, of Carle Place, speaks with Phil

Lorenzo Abbatiello, of Carle Place, speaks with Phil Rugile, from eGifter, during the Long Island Tech Job Fair on June 20, 2016 at the Cradle of Aviation in Garden City. Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

The Long Island job market added to its summer momentum in July, when it had 16,600 more jobs than in July 2015, the biggest year-over increase since January, state data released Thursday show.

In June, the local job market was growing at an annual rate of 12,100 jobs.

The private-education and health services sector led employment growth, with 7,900 more jobs, almost all in health care, the Labor Department said. The construction industry was second, with an increase of 6,600 jobs. Leisure and hospitality, which includes restaurants, came in third, with 4,700 more jobs.

John A. Rizzo, chief economist of the Long Island Association, the region’s largest trade group, said that the “particularly strong” hiring for construction and restaurants “is good news for the housing market and consumer spending in the coming months.”

And month-to-month increases suggest continued strength in those areas, said Shital Patel, labor market analyst in the department’s Hicksville office. The restaurants had 2,900 more jobs in July, compared with June, when a 700-job decline is typical between those two months, she said.

The construction sector grew by 4,100 jobs in the same time period, more than six times the average gain of 600, Patel said.

“There doesn’t seem to be any slowdown in construction activity for the foreseeable future,” she said.

The biggest year-over-year employment declines occurred in the trade, transportation and utilities sector, which shed 4,400 jobs, mostly because of retail store layoffs.

Patel has said that year-over-year retail job numbers have continued to slump because post-holiday layoffs took a bigger bite out of an employment base that had slowed on significantly weaker holiday hiring last year.

But between June and July the sector perked up a bit and added 600 jobs, when it normally sheds 1,100.

“We are beginning to make up for some of the holiday weakness,” she said.

The Island’s private sector gained 15,900 jobs, while the government sector grew by 700.

All told, the Island had 1.34 million jobs in July, up from 1.32 million a year earlier.

The department uses year-over-year comparisons because local data aren’t adjusted to account for seasonal fluctuations in employment.

On a percentage basis, the Island’s 1.3 percent overall employment growth in July fell below the state’s 1.4 percent, the nation’s 1.7 percent, and New York City, 2.3 percent, all on a seasonally unadjusted data.

The 2.8 percent job growth in Ithaca, the home of Cornell University, was the highest among the state’s metro areas.

The Labor Department will release the July unemployment rate on Tuesday. The Island’s jobless rate fell to 3.8 percent in June, from 4.5 percent a year earlier.

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