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Long Island adds 14,600 jobs, data show

Laurel Uvena and Toni-Marie Jamaica of National Recruiting

Laurel Uvena and Toni-Marie Jamaica of National Recruiting Group speak with job-seekers at a hiring event this month at the Suffolk County One-Stop Employment Center in Hauppauge, Nov. 6, 2019. Credit: Barry Sloan

Long Island's job market saw another month of year-over-year growth in October as the health care and construction sectors once again took the lead in job creation, state data released Thursday show.

The Island’s economy had 14,600 more jobs in October, up 1.1% over the same month a year ago, according to state Labor Department data. That job gain compared to a 10,900-job increase year-over-year in September.

Five of the region’s nine job sectors tracked by the state reported gains in October.

Overall, the Island’s job market appears to have rebounded from last year, when the employment market shrank in the last five months of the year, said Shital Patel, labor market analyst in the Labor Department’s Hicksville office.

“Looking both on a month-over-month and year-over-year basis, there’s been a bit of an uptick,” Patel said. “It definitely does seem overall we have had a rebound in job growth on Long Island.”

The health care sector, the Island’s largest job creator, added 11,200 jobs year over year, the department said. Construction reported 5,900 more jobs over last year. Leisure and hospitality saw an increase of 3,200 jobs over last October, and manufacturing reported 1,600 more jobs year-over-year. 

One area of the Island job market that saw a bright spot last month was the retail trade sector.

On a year-over-year basis, retail saw an increase of 800 jobs, its first year-over-year gain since April. From September into October, retail saw a gain of 2,700 jobs, well above its average month-over-month gain of 1,700 during that time period.

“It looks like it’s going to be a stronger than average holiday hiring season,” said, Patel, adding that the biggest rush of holiday seasonal hiring usually occurs in November. Despite the difficulties many big-name retailers have had in recent years, the need for workers in a tight labor market is still strong.

“With a tight job market, many people who had worked in the retail industry are being lured by jobs that pay more, that have more stability, and have better benefits,” she said. “There’s still a consistent need for new retail workers, and a lot of these stores are having a really hard time finding workers."

Another sector that outperformed its average gains on a month-to-month basis was professional and business services.

While that sector, which includes high-paying jobs in industries such as engineering, architecture, IT and R&D services, has seen year-over-year declines, it reported a month-over-month gain of 2,500 jobs from September to October. That compares to an average September-to-October gain of 300.

“We had been seeing a lot of weakness in that category,” Patel said. “Long Island prides itself on its educated workforce, so it’s good to see when industries like this are growing on Long Island.”

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