Long Island's job growth slowed in September, state Labor Department data released Thursday show.
The Island had 17,200 more jobs in September compared with a year ago. That was down from August, when the economy was growing at a rate of 20,000 jobs year over year.
Lower-wage jobs again led growth last month. The private-education and health-services sector expanded the most, up 8,800 jobs, compared with a year earlier. That sector includes fast-growing jobs such as home-health aides. The trade, transportation and utilities sector, which includes retail, had the second-highest growth, with 6,500 more jobs.
Retail did an about-face on a month-to-month basis, causing some concern about holiday hiring. Retail cut 2,600 jobs between August and September, after adding 1,500 between July and August, fives times the usual number, the state Labor Department noted in the August report.
In the latest report the department also noted the transportation and warehousing industry added just 2,200 jobs between August and September in anticipation of the holiday shopping season, about half the average number.
"That's mixed evidence of what the holiday season holds," said John A. Rizzo, chief economist for the Long Island Association.
Some higher-wage sectors also expanded. Professional and business services, which includes lawyers and accountants, had 3,800 more jobs, the third-largest increase among all sectors.
Construction came in fourth, with 2,800 more jobs. Apartment construction associated with multi-use projects at train stations helped drive those increases, said Shital Patel, labor market analyst in the department's Hicksville office. "I wouldn't expect that to slow down anytime soon," she said.
The private sector added 19,200 jobs, or 1.8 percent, compared with a year earlier, outpacing the state's 1.6 percent job growth. But the Island's government sector shed 2,000 jobs, which cut overall employment growth to 17,200, or 1.3 percent. Continuing public school layoffs accounted for most of the government sector's decline.
The total number of jobs on Long Island rose to 1.30 million from 1.28 million a year ago.
After four months of being unemployed, Plainview resident Linda Rosen began working in June as an administrative assistant at a local nonprofit. In February she lost her job as the executive assistant to the president at another local nonprofit after eight months, because her position was eliminated.
Rosen, 63, believes her volunteer work at a nonprofit since 2006 helped give her an edge in finding another job.
"Companies think you bring a fresh perspective and good ideas," she said.
The labor department will release the Island's September unemployment rate on Tuesday. In August it fell to 5.1 percent from 6.1 percent a year earlier