The Long Island economy had 16,700 more jobs in July than a year earlier, with the largest gains coming from education and health services, preliminary state data released Thursday show.

The private education and health care sector showed continued strong growth, with the biggest year-over-year gain, 9,200 jobs, primarily in health care. The leisure and hospitality sector ranked second, adding 3,000 jobs compared to a year ago.

One of the bigger surprises from the monthly numbers, said Shital Patel, labor market analyst for the state Labor Department, was the month-to-month growth in hotel and restaurant jobs. The sector, on average, loses 400 jobs from June into July, but actually gained 1,300 last month.

On a month-to-month basis, the overall leisure industry, which also includes employment categories such as arts, entertainment and recreation, added about 4,800 jobs from June to July, well above the average 2,800 jobs usually added in the same period.

“Long Island’s summer tourism industry has been pretty strong looking at our leisure and hospitality numbers this year,” Patel said.

In July, Long Island had 1.36 million jobs total, up from 1.34 million in the same month last year. But the region lost jobs on a month-to-month basis, according to the report. Nassau and Suffolk counties had 1.37 million jobs in June.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

John A. Rizzo, a Stony Brook University economics professor and chief economist for the Long Island Association trade group, said the monthly decline “was less than the norm” and that sectors like construction “seem to have rebounded.”

Overall, Rizzo said the numbers indicated stable growth. “Long Island’s economy has been at or near full employment for some time so you wouldn’t expect large year-over-year gains,” Rizzo said.

Manufacturing continued to lose jobs, with 1,800 fewer jobs year over year.

The Island’s private sector added 14,900 jobs compared to last year, while the government sector added 1,800.