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Long Island job growth slows in April

Job growth has slowed on Long Island, state

Job growth has slowed on Long Island, state data released Thursday show. Credit: Getty Images

Job growth has slowed on Long Island, state data released Thursday show.

The Island had 8,200 more jobs last month than in April 2014, according to the state Labor Department. It was the slowest growth since December.

The Island had 7,900 more private-sector jobs, a 0.7 percent increase, far below the state's 1.7 percent and the nation's 2.6 percent for the same year-over-year period. The public sector added 300 jobs.

John A. Rizzo, chief economist for the Long Island Association, the Island's largest business group, said the report also has some encouraging news. He said a big jump in month-to-month job counts in some sectors bodes well for the local employment market.

For example, the Island's private-sector job count rose by 17,200 between March and April, significantly higher than the typical 12,100-job increase. And construction rebounded with an added 6,700 jobs, nearly double the typical month-to-month increase of 3,500 jobs.

"The long-term results look sluggish," Rizzo said of the data that look back over the labor market's performance in the past year. "But the short term is looking better."

The retail sector perked up between March and April, adding 2,400 jobs, four times the usual increase. Rizzo said that suggests "consumer spending should be getting strong."

But James Brown, the Labor Department's labor-market analyst in Manhattan, believes the data reflect a catch-up after "we had some weak numbers coming out of the cold winter."

The private-education and health-services sectors led year-over-year job growth, with 5,800 more jobs, powered mostly by the health care and social-assistance subsector. Some of the subsector's lower-wage jobs, such as home-health aide, have been among its fastest-growing. The Island's highest-paying sector, financial activities, which includes banking, real estate and insurance, lost the most jobs -- down 1,300.

The department uses year-over-year comparisons because the data aren't adjusted to reflect seasonal swings in employment.

Despite the financial sector's woes, some companies are hiring. Job seekers say having the right skills is key to landing a job in a challenging sector. Abraham Kaltsas, whose expertise includes risk management, was hired in February as the director of risk management at Kuttin-Metis Wealth Management, a Melville financial advisory firm.

The job came looking for him. He was working for a Westbury financial-services firm when he got a call from a head hunter who told him about Kuttin-Metis, an affiliate of Ameriprise Financial Services Inc.

"They are a significant investment advisory firm that wants to expand beyond investment to risk management and protection planning," he said of Kuttin-Metis. The latter includes such things as protecting assets for long-term needs.

Kaltsas believes his management experience is a plus. "I was very accustomed to working with other advisers and helping them build and develop their careers," he said.

The Labor Department will release the April unemployment rate on Wednesday, a day later than the usual Tuesday. The jobless rate fell to 4.7 percent in March, from 5.6 percent a year earlier.

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