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New York lags rest of the country in job growth

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  • Steve Bittenbender | The Center Square contributor/June 18th, 2021

(The Center Square) – Jobs data released Thursday shows New York gained private-sector jobs in May but not at the same rate as the rest of the country.

The New York State Department of Labor said the number of jobs grew by 17,500, or 0.2%, last month as there are now nearly 7.5 million jobs in the state.

Nationally, the number of private-sector jobs grew at a 0.4% clip, meaning 492,000 new jobs were created.

New York’s unemployment rate went from 8.2% in April to 7.8% last month. That’s still significantly higher than the U.S. average of 5.8%.

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In addition, while the state’s unemployment rate went down, so too did its labor participation rate, which accounts for the percentage of working-age individuals – people 16 or older – who are either working or actively seeking a job. It went from 61.4% in April to 60.9% last month.

New York City continues to be the main drag on the statewide numbers. According to the DOL, the city’s unemployment rate was 10.9% for the month. That’s down from 11.4% in April, but outside of the nation’s largest city, the rest of the state reported a 5.5% unemployment rate for May.

DOL data does show that the state is regaining the jobs it lost more than a year ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the job recovery is happening slower than the COVID-caused freefall.

In May 2020, the state reported a loss of more than 550,000 leisure and hospitality jobs from the previous year. From May 2020 to last month, the number of jobs in that sector grew by more than 255,000.

The next biggest gainer, in terms of job numbers, was trade, transportation and utilities. After losing nearly 359,000 jobs from May 2019 to May 2020, that industry has picked up 204,000 jobs from May 2020 to last month.

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