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LI jobs growth remains slow, says Labor Dept.

Job seekers wait in line to talk to

Job seekers wait in line to talk to recruiters at a career fair in Manhattan on Wednesday. It was one of the job fairs that go on weekly in the New York metropolitan area. (July 18, 2012) Credit: Bloomberg News

Long Island's job market remains stuck in slow-growth mode.

The Island had just 6,300 more jobs in June than it had a year earlier, the state Labor Department said Thursday.

And revised figures indicate that job growth in May slowed more than first thought -- to just 7,000 more jobs, compared with a year earlier, down from the 9,100 originally reported.

In contrast, in the first three months of 2012, the Island had an average of 19,100 more jobs, compared with a year ago.

The department uses year-to-year comparisons because, unlike federal and state jobs data, local numbers aren't seasonally adjusted to account for unusual monthly swings.

The slowdown here reflects the weakness in the national job market.

"The Long Island job market is paralleling the nation's," said Pearl Kamer, chief economist for the Long Island Association. "In both cases, employment growth has clearly slowed."

On Long Island, the construction sector had the biggest contraction -- 4,700 fewer jobs than the year before. The private education and health-services category had the strongest growth -- 5,900 more jobs.

The leisure and hospitality category has continued to lose jobs, down 2,700 jobs, which one economist found surprising, given the summer season. The sector "is just not gaining as much as we had expected to see," said Shital Patel, labor-market analyst in the Labor Department's Hicksville office.

The Island now has 1.275 million jobs, compared with 1.269 million a year ago. The department will release the June jobless rate Tuesday. May's 7.4 percent rate jumped from 6.7 percent in May 2011.

So the job market overall remains challenging. Syosset resident Drew Appelbaum, 30, found that out after he lost his job in January 2011 at local radio station WBLI. He wanted to find another local job in which he could use his social media skills.

"I thought it would be an easy transition," said Appelbaum, who has a bachelor's of business arts from Hofstra University. "I had a stocked-up resume."

After a three-month search and no job, he took a market-research position in Manhattan, but continued to send out resumes. He said he became so desperate for a marketing job here that he even applied at a company that hosts mud-wrestling events. No luck. Finally, in March he spotted a Craigslist ad seeking a Long Island community manager for Yelp.com, the website that features users' reviews of different types of venues such as restaurants.

"It seemed like a perfect fit," he said. He was hired in April and works from home.

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