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Long Island economy adds 15,100 jobs

Job seekers at a career fair at the

Job seekers at a career fair at the Melville Marriott on Dec. 12, 2013. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

Long Island's job growth picked up in June, state data released Thursday show.

The Island had 15,100 more jobs, compared with June of last year. It was the largest year-over-year increase in five months.

The private sector had 18,400 more jobs, the state Labor Department said. But a 3,300-job decline in the government sector, primarily because of public-school layoffs, cut overall job growth to 15,100. The Island's job count grew to 1.32 million last month, compared with 1.30 million a year ago.

The private-education and health-services sector, one of the Island's lower-wage categories, led increases, with 6,600 more jobs than a year ago. Construction, one of the Island's higher-paying sectors, also had a sizable increase -- 5,100 more jobs. That sector had a total of 74,400 jobs in June, the highest number since 2008.

Downtown-revitalization construction and hotel projects are driving those job increases, said Shital Patel, a labor-market analyst in the department's Hicksville office. "So, that's going to keep construction going," she said.

Professional and business services, another higher-wage category, also added jobs. It had 2,600 more than a year ago. Spurring that increase in part is the higher number of jobs in professional, scientific and technical services. That "is the type of jobs that we want to see growing on Long Island," Patel said.

One of the companies hiring in that sector is The EGC Group, a Melville-based marketing and digital firm. Ernie Canadeo, founder and president, said nine people have joined the firm in the last four months as it beefs up its digital operations to respond to growing client demand. The new hires include a Web producer, a social media community manager and a search-marketing coordinator. Digital services represent 50 percent of the company's revenue. "It's driving a lot of our growth," Canadeo said.

The Island's highest paying sector, financial activities, which includes banking, insurance and real estate, continued to lose jobs because of bank consolidations, Patel said. That sector was down 2,800 jobs.

Economist Gregory DeFreitas, who heads Hofstra University's labor studies program, noted that the sector's 3.8 percent year-over-year decline was the worst for June since the 2008 to 2009 period, when the local economy was in the depths of the depression. "Given that it's a high-paying area, that's a concern," he said.

He also said he was concerned about sluggish growth in the leisure and hospitality sector, which added just 400 jobs.

"That's a sector we really depend on in the summer," he said.

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