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LI leisure and hospitality jobs decline

Pearl Kamer, the chief economist for the Long

Pearl Kamer, the chief economist for the Long Island Association. (Nov. 10, 2011) Credit: Newsday, 2011 / Audrey C. Tiernan

After getting off to a roaring start earlier this year, the Long Island job market has applied the brakes, and now has slipped into the slow lane. And the slowdown in one sector in particular baffles one local economist.

It’s leisure and hospitality, the category that indicates how much people are spending to have fun. That category, which includes restaurants, hotels and amusement parks, had 2,700 fewer jobs in June than the year before. But it’s summer. So what gives? One economist is scratching her head.

“The puzzling part is leisure and hospitality, which has been suffering and is just not gaining as much as we had expected to see,” said Shital Patel, labor-market analyst in the state Labor Department’s Hicksville office.

But Pearl Kamer, chief economist of the Long Island Association, said that consumers just aren’t spending their spare money on discretionary things because of uncertainty about the economy.

“They are not going to hotels; they are not going to restaurants because they are frightened,” she said.

Photo: Long Island Association chief economist Pearl Kamer.

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