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LI jobless rate inches up, data show

Anthony Barone, left, a recruiter for the U.S.

Anthony Barone, left, a recruiter for the U.S. Postal Service, speaks with Esther Orellana of East Hampton at an April job fair at the East Hampton Library. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Long Island’s unemployment rate rose slightly year-over-year to 3.4% in September, up 0.1 percentage points from the same month last year, state Labor Department data released Tuesday shows.

The unemployment rate on the Island was 3.3% in September 2019.

“It increased a little bit, but I’m not concerned quite yet,” said Shital Patel, labor market analyst in the Labor Department’s Hicksville office. “Looking at underlining details, really, the small increase was due to a relatively small decline in the number of employed residents and an equal increase in the number of unemployed.”

While the increase continues a pattern reported in August’s unemployment figures, in light of the Island’s positive job creation figures and continued demand for labor, the small increase could be attributed to "churn in the labor market," Patel said. 

“It is possible that people might be leaving their jobs in search of better opportunities because the labor market has been performing quite well,” she said. "Companies are looking for people. Average wages are going up. It’s possible people are leaving their jobs and looking for jobs that pay better.”

Nassau County’s jobless rate increased 0.2 percentage points over last year, to 3.4%. Suffolk’s unemployment rate also reached 3.4%, an increase of 0.1 percentage points.

New York City’s unemployment rate was unchanged in September at 3.8%.

On the Island, the city of Glen Cove had the lowest jobless rate of any local municipality, at 3.0%. The Village of Hempstead had the highest unemployment rate, at 4.1%.

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