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Long Island employment market adds 18,400 jobs

Strong private-sector job growth boosted the Long Island

Strong private-sector job growth boosted the Long Island employment market to its biggest gains in more than a year, state data released Thursday show. Credit: Getty Images

Strong private-sector job growth boosted the Long Island employment market in June to its biggest gains in more than a year, state data released Thursday show.

In fact, the private sector was the sole contributor to job growth last month, with 18,400 more jobs than in June 2014, the state Labor Department said. It was the biggest jump for the Island's overall job market, which includes the public sector, since November 2013.

The public sector last month had no year-over-year change in jobs. Meanwhile, six of the nine private-sector job categories tracked by the Labor Department added jobs, including construction and leisure/hospitality.

"Collectively this bodes well, not only for Long Island's labor market, but for discretionary consumer spending and the real estate market," said John A. Rizzo, chief economist for the Long Island Association, the region's largest business group. "Based on this report, one may anticipate favorable economic growth on Long Island in the coming months."

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Construction, which continued its rise to record levels of employment last month, was the second-highest job generator, creating 6,100 more jobs than a year earlier. That sector now has 79,900 jobs.

Leisure and hospitality, which experienced growth in accommodation and food services, added the third-highest number of jobs, with an increase of 2,700. The leader was the private education and health-services sector, up 9,200 jobs from a year earlier.

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

Even the financial activities sector, which has yet to recover the jobs it lost during the recession, showed signs of renewed life. Though the sector was down 1,000 jobs year over year, it gained 1,300 in June compared with May, nearly twice the average gain of 800 jobs for the period, said Shital Patel, labor-market analyst in the department's Hicksville office.

"Hopefully you won't see any more job losses in that sector like we have had over the past year," she said of the Island's highest-paying sector.

The improving job market has provided mobility for some job seekers.

Commack resident Debbie Mullarkey, 45, in April was hired as director of development at CN Guidance & Counseling Services, a Hicksville nonprofit that provides counseling and social services to people dealing with mental illness, developmental disabilities and addictions.

After two years of a three-hour round-trip commute each day to an East Hampton domestic-violence agency where she worked as the human-resource director, she wanted a shorter commute and different duties.

"I was at a fork in the road, and I needed to decide which direction to go in," said Mullarkey, whose new job includes fundraising and helping to develop the group's first gala.

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