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Official: LI jobless rate up in November, but still 'close to full employment'

Applicants at a November job fair at Joseph

Applicants at a November job fair at Joseph M. Barry Career and Technical Education Center in Westbury. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Long Island's unemployment rate ticked higher year over year to 3.3% in November, marking the fourth straight month of increases, according to state Labor Department data released Tuesday.

The number of unemployed Long Island workers in the nonseasonally adjusted data stood at 48,500 — 2,800 more than in November 2018, when the jobless rate stood at 3.1%.

Shital Patel, labor market analyst for the New York State Department of Labor's Long Island region, said that workers re-entering the job market are responsible for the recent uptick in the Long Island unemployment rate.

"We've been having moderate jobs growth on Long Island," she said. "There's hiring activity in pretty much every industry and pretty much every skill level."

Despite the increases in unemployment, "we're very close to full employment," Patel said, noting that the lowest November unemployment rate on record was 2.8% in 1998.

Unemployment data includes only workers who are actively seeking jobs, but not "discouraged" job seekers who have abandoned their search.

Nassau County's unemployment rate in November was 3.2%, up 0.2 percentage points from November 2018, while Suffolk's was 3.3%, an increase of 0.1 percentage point.

Freeport had the highest November unemployment rate among Long Island towns, villages and cities listed by the Labor Department at 3.9%, while Long Beach had the lowest at 2.9%.

Hempstead, Long Island's most populous town, saw its jobless rate climb 0.2 percentage points to 3.3% since November 2018.

Long Island's jobless rate was in line with the national rate of 3.3%, but remained lower than those of New York City, whose year-over-year rate was unchanged at 3.7%, and New York State, which inched up 0.1 percentage point to 3.6%.

Long Island's unemployment rate in October was 3.5%.

The nonseasonally adjusted numbers do not seek to compensate for factors such as the annual increase in retail employment leading to the December holidays.

The Labor Department will release its jobs data for December on Jan. 23.

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