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LI October job was virtually flat with the prior month: Labor Department

Construction continues to lead employment gains on Long Island, as it has since June.

Long Island and New York City residents at

Long Island and New York City residents at Nassau's 11th Mega Job Fair at Nassau Community College, Friday, October 26, 2018. Photo Credit: Anthony DelMundo

Long Island job growth was nearly unchanged in October, preliminary state data released Thursday show.  

The Island had 12,200 more jobs last month than in October 2017, the Labor Department said. That gain was slightly lower than the 12,300 year-over-year increase in September.

September's job growth was revised significantly higher than the 10,000 year-over-year increase the department first reported, indicating that the local job market was much stronger than first thought.  

"The labor market picture on Long Island remains strong,"  said Shital Patel, labor-market analyst in the the department's Hicksville office. 

The restaurant category accounted for most of the upward revision to September, Patel said. 

In October, the construction sector again led job gains, as it has done since June. Employment in the sector expanded by 7,300 from a year earlier. Health care added 4,900 jobs.  

On a month-to-month basis the "other services" sector,  which includes political campaign organizations, perked up by 2,100 jobs between September and October to an all-time high of 63,300.

"It's possible some of the increase could be from those [campaign] organizations," Patel said. 

The public sector shed 200 jobs because of federal, state and local job losses. 

Unemployed St. James resident Steve Marsh, 59, said his employment with Stony Brook University ended in August after after 19 years. 

"After 19 years of always being renewed, I was suprised," said the former senior lecturer, who taught in the Theater Arts Department.  

He believes he may have to leave the area to find a comparable job.

"In all of the [job] postings, i don't see a lot of them on Long Island," he said.  

Martin Melkonian, associate economics professor at Hofstra University, said that despite the local job market's overall strength, some weakness remains.  

For example, he said that some long-time unemployed workers could find a job if employers offered them training programs, which companies are reluctant to do. 

"If you really have a strong market, employers would be willing to invest in their workers and train them," he said.

And continued growth of lower-wage jobs remains a problem, he said.

"There are jobs, but they are not breadwinner jobs," he said.

Long Island had a total of 1.37 million jobs last month. 

The department uses year-over-year comparisons for local data because they aren’t adjusted to account for seasonal fluctuations in employment.

Long Island's 0.9 percent job growth for September compared with a 1.3 percent increase for the state and 1.7 percent for the nation, in the same year-over-year period. 

Among the state's metro areas, Ithaca, the home of Cornell University, experienced the biggest employment gain, up 2.9 percent year over year.

The Labor Department will release the October unemployment rate on Tuesday. Last month the jobless rate fell a percentage point to 3.3 percent, the lowest for the region in more than 10 years. 

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