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Long Island jobless rate falls to 4.2%

Recruiter Christopher Brady of DDI (Developmental Disability Institute)

Recruiter Christopher Brady of DDI (Developmental Disability Institute) greets a job seeker during a job fair in Huntington Station on Feb. 10, 2016. Credit: Ed Betz

Long Island’s unemployment rate fell again last month, from 4.9 percent a year ago to 4.2 percent, the lowest for the month since 2007, the state Labor Department said Tuesday.

Statewide, the unemployment rate was 5.2 percent, down from 5.7 percent a year earlier.

Rates are based on a survey of 3,100 households statewide.

New York City’s rate also fell, to 5.7 percent from 6.1.

Nassau’s rate, 3.9 percent, was the second lowest among the state’s counties, tied with Putnam. Tompkins County, home of Cornell University, had the lowest rate — 3.5 percent. Suffolk’s rate was 4.5 percent.

The Island’s March unemployment rate is lower than February’s, which was 4.5 percent, the lowest for that month since 2007. In February 2015, the rate was 5.3 percent.

Last week, the labor department said the Island had 25,000 more jobs last month, compared with March 2015, the biggest year-over-year increase for any month in three years.

“It was another good month especially in combination with the job numbers we got last week, basically saying labor market conditions on Long Island are pretty good,” said Shital Patel, labor market analyst at the labor department’s Hicksville office.

The department focuses on year-over-year comparisons because the statistics are not adjusted for seasonal variations.

In March, Long Beach had Nassau’s lowest unemployment rate, 3.2 percent. In Suffolk, Huntington Town’s was lowest at 3.8 percent.

The department estimates that 62,200 Long Islanders were unemployed in March, with another 1.4 million employed. The unemployed include about 35,000 in Suffolk and 27,000 in Nassau.

The number of people unemployed represents a decline of 8,800 from a year earlier.

Meanwhile, the number of people working in March rose by 41,500 from last year to 1.4 million, a record, said chief economist John Rizzo of the Long Island Assocation, a business group.

“A lot more people are looking for work and finding it,” he said. “When you see numbers like this, there has to be wage growth to follow and it has to be good for consumer spending.”

The number of employed residents differs from the number of jobs because it includes people who work off the Island as well as on it.

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