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LI sees small uptick in jobless rate but more active job seekers 

A help wanted sign along Middle Country Road

A help wanted sign along Middle Country Road in Selden on Tuesday. Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

More Long Islanders hopped off the sidelines and were actively looking for work in June than in the month prior, state data shows.

The Island’s labor force increased by 25,000 in June on a month-over-month basis from May, bringing the count to 1.45 million. The number of employed residents rose by 19,600 to 1.4 million, while the number of unemployed Islanders grew by 5,300 to 72,600, indicating that most residents who entered the labor force last month found employment.

The labor force refers to the sum of all working-age Long Islanders who are either employed or unemployed but actively looking for work. It does not include those who have given up the job search, whether they be discouraged job hunters, those who retired early or those who stopped working to pursue higher education.

Despite the increased number of successful job seekers seen last month, the region’s unemployment rate saw a small increase, typical of June labor reports.

The Island’s jobless rate inched up to 5% last month from 4.7% the month prior, according to state Labor Department data released Tuesday.

The unemployment rates for Nassau and Suffolk counties individually were also 5% last month, data shows.

"The increase in the unemployment rate on Long Island between May and June followed typical seasonal patterns as people enter the labor force to fill summer jobs," said Shital Patel, labor market analyst for Labor Department’s Hicksville office.

While the region did see its unemployment rate increase by 0.3 percentage points on a month-over-month basis, the Island’s rate remains far below that of June 2020, when the percentage stood at 12.9%, Patel said.

Mark Irgang, president of the Long Island Hospitality Association, said pent-up demand has led to increased hiring for hotels, restaurants and recreational businesses heavily reliant on summer foot traffic. Despite that increased business, employers still aren’t finding the number of workers they need.

"The leisure and hotel business have come back in a big way," Irgang said, adding that many hotels on the Island and beyond are without vacancies. "Within the United States, anyone who can travel is traveling."

Still, Irgang said, hiring troubles continue to hamper a full-fledged recovery of the leisure industry

"A lot of businesses are not able to sell as much as they would if they had a full staff," he said. Additionally, "the service levels have gone down because they don’t have enough staff to provide a level of service to the customers," he said.

The municipalities on the Island with the highest and lowest unemployment rates last month were Hempstead Village at 6.9% and the City of Glen Cove at 4.3%, respectively.

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