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Long Island jobless rate hits 6.7%

Job fair participants in Uniondale on June 8.

Job fair participants in Uniondale on June 8. Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

Long Island’s unemployment rate inched up to 6.7 percent in May, essentially unchanged from April’s 6.6 percent, the New York State Labor Department reported Tuesday afternoon.

But the rate is down from 7.1 percent a year ago. And  the number of unemployed workers dropped 6 percent to 98,100 in May, from 104,600 a year ago.

 The year-over-year jobless rate went down  even as last week's employement report, showed that Long Island was losing jobs.  The Island had 4,800 fewer jobs in May, compared with the year before, the first net loss in a year.

Local economists maintain that a key factor in that discrepancy is increasing numbers of  discouraged workers, those who have given up looking for work and thus aren't included in unemployment or employment numbers.    

Including discouraged workers would boost the jobless rate by at least a half percentage point, some economists say.

The number of employed workers fell by 9,900 to 1.358 million in May, compared with 1.368 million a year ago.

The jobless rate is below the recent recession’s high of 8.3 percent in February 2010, but remains well above the pre-recession 4.5 percent rate in May 2008.

Photo: Participants at a job fair in Uniondale on June 8.

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