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LI's private sector adds significantly fewer jobs

Long Island's private sector added significantly fewer jobs in the 12 months that ended in September than it had been adding, according to state Labor Department data released Thursday. But local governments ratcheted up their job cuts.

The private sector had 5,600 more jobs last month than it had in September 2009. The report was the sixth consecutive one showing private-sector growth. But the latest increase was considerably below the 10,200 job gain from August 2009 to August 2010.

August "was a pretty strong month," said Gary Huth, the department's principal economist for Long Island. "But . . . [September] was a little bit softer than I expected."

The Island's unemployment rate dipped to 6.9 percent in September from 7 percent in August.

The public sector, which includes federal, state and local government employees, had 3,900 fewer jobs in September, compared with September 2009, and lost the most of any sector. Most of the cuts, which have jumped in the past few months, were in education and reflected the loss of jobs among administrators, teachers and support staff.

"We simply do not have the fiscal capacity to support current levels of government employment," said Pearl Kamer, chief economist of the Long Island Association, a business group. "This is part of the adjustment that was a long time in coming."

She doesn't see the trend, which reverses three decades of growth, ending any time soon. "The net result is that government will become a smaller portion of the Long Island economy," she said.

The Island now has 1.028 million private-sector jobs, compared with 1.023 million in September 2009. Among the private sectors, the educational and health-services category added the most jobs - 5,700.

Even in the categories that lost jobs - such as manufacturing, which had 1,100 fewer jobs - there's ample proof that some employers are hiring.

In the next six months, CVD Equipment Corp., a high-tech manufacturing company in Ronkonkoma, is planning to add 20 to 40 employees to its staff of 140, said president and chief executive Leonard Rosenbaum. The positions include mechanical, electrical and software engineers and machinists.

The company manufactures a variety of equipment, such as machines that put coatings on solar panels or on the wings of new-generation jets to make them stronger and lighter.

"We're in high-tech areas that are going to be your technology of tomorrow," Rosenbaum said.He said the company, which also has a facility in upstate Saugerties, has a competitive advantage because it doesn't mass produce but rather specializes and handles production in-house.

"We are not depending on someone else," Rosenbaum said. "Our customers like that."

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