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Report: Metro area sees rise in employment numbers

Recruiters wait at a booth at a job

Recruiters wait at a booth at a job fair. Credit: AP File / Nov. 4, 2009

A little good news for the holidays: The greater New York area and Long Island were among the nation's healthiest metro areas job-wise in the third quarter of 2009, according to the Brookings Institution.

This region notched a small 0.5 percent gain in jobs during that period, when the nation's 100 largest metro areas suffered an average of 0.5 percent job loss, noted the Metro Monitor, Brookings' quarterly barometer of those economies.

U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southhampton) Wednesday pointed to the data as evidence that the huge spending of the federal stimulus program has been working here.

Suffolk County received more stimulus dollars than any other county in the state but New York City, a combination of high levels of school funding, unemployment benefits and a major contract for Brookhaven National Laboratory.

"We have saved lots of jobs, we have created lots of jobs and we have saved local taxpayer money, and put money back into the economy," Bishop said.

After shrinking by 6.5 percent between March and June, the economy grew by 2.5 percent in the third quarter, Bishop said.

"Anybody saying the recovery act is a failure, that it didn't work, how else would you explain a nine-point swing?" Bishop said.

The Brookings report cautioned that the recovery now believed to be under way seems fragile, because the "Cash for Clunkers" program and the stimulus funding that have powered many jobs are short-term fixes that will run out. Bishop believes that the dollars spent at Brookhaven, as well as stimulus funding flowing to Stony Brook University and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, will produce spinoff employment and economic activity far into the future.

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