In a four-page report, DiNapoli said Nassau and Suffolk counties, as of April, had recouped 47.3 percent of the 53,700 jobs shed during the 2007-09 downturn. That's well behind New York City, which recovered all of its 140,100 jobs and added 40,700 more.
Statewide, 312,700 jobs, or 94.6 percent of the 330,400 that disappeared in the recession, have been regained.
"Long Island was hard hit by the collapse of the housing market, more than in many parts of the state," DiNapoli said Thursday. The construction industry "had lost jobs during the recession and has continued to lose jobs as the economy has begun to recover."
Factory payrolls, which shrank for two years, have "only stabilized in recent months," he said, while the fiscal crisis gripping both county governments has produced waves of pink slips.
Some economists predicted it would be years before Long Island again sees robust hiring because foreclosures continue to depress the housing market and consumers are reluctant to spend when they worry about job security.
The Island is seeking to build a new economy based on technology -- some of it developed locally at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Stony Brook University, among others.
"It's a slow process," said Pearl Kamer, chief economist at the Long Island Association business group. "Initially, you don't create a lot of jobs. But over time, once you commercialize technologies, you will generate a significant number of jobs in five to 10 years."
She warned that some jobs lost in the recession, at stores and mortgage brokerages, "aren't coming back" because consumer demand is less.
New York City's robust job growth has been fueled by tourism, international finance and the federal bailout of investment banks.
However, DiNapoli cautioned that Wall Street has jettisoned workers in the wake of losses in late 2011.
STRUGGLING TO RECOVER
53,700 Jobs lost on LI during the recession
25,400 Jobs regained on LI
47.3% Percentage of lost jobs now regained on LI
330,400 Jobs lost in New York State during the recession
312,700 Jobs regained in New York State
94.6% Percentage of lost jobs now regained in New York State