Long Island’s job growth continued to slow in October, state data released Thursday show.
The local job market had 11,700 more jobs last month, compared with a year earlier, state Labor Department data show. But for three consecutive months now, the local employment market has been losing momentum. The latest job tally contrasted with September’s 14,600, August’s 15,100 and July’s 16,600.
“The Long Island job market, while still adding jobs at a nice pace, is not as strong as it was earlier in the year,” said James Brown, labor-market analyst in the department’s Brooklyn office.
In March the local job market was growing at a rate of 25,000 jobs a year.
The private-education and health-services sector expanded the most in October — up 10,700 jobs year over year. The gains largely came in health care.
Professional and business services, which includes lawyers and accountants, suffered the biggest loss among the sectors, down 2,200 jobs.
Those job declines may reflect a nationwide slowdown in corporate profits and spending on business services in the last year, Brown said.
Retail, part of the trade, transportation and utilities sector, was another drag on the job numbers last month, also down 2,200 jobs compared with a year earlier.
Brown said that supermarket and retail closings, such as those at Pathmark, Waldbaum’s and Sports Authority, continued to weigh on job growth.
“Retail has been somewhat weak all year,” Brown said.
But he noted that improvements could be on the horizon.
“We are seeing a lot of expansion,” he said. “There are a lot of new stores being announced.”
And John A. Rizzo, chief economist for the Long Island Association, the region’s largest trade group, noted another sign of possible near-term improvement in retail: Between September and October, retail added 3,500 jobs, which he called “an above-average pace.”
That he believes is “a positive sign of holiday spending.”
The government sector had a zero net increase in jobs. Brown attributed that to ongoing financial problems in county government and in school districts.
All told, last month Long Island had 1.34 million jobs, up from 1.33 million in October 2015.
The department uses year-over-year comparisons because local data aren’t adjusted to account for seasonal fluctuations in employment.
Long Island’s 0.9 percent employment increase compared with a 1.6 percent increase in New York City and in the nation. New York State posted a 1 percent increase. Ithaca, home to Cornell University, had the fastest job growth in the state, at 3.2 percent.
The Labor Department will release the October unemployment rate on Tuesday. September’s jobless rate inched down to 4.2 percent, from 4.3 percent in September 2015.