Fewer Long Islanders filed for unemployment benefits in November, compared to a year ago. At the same time the overall number of private sector jobs on Long Island and Oyster Bay dipped, though some sectors showed growth.
That’s according to recent Labor Department reports, the latest of which were released Tuesday.
The unemployment pattern “is similar to what we’ve seen in recent months,” said Michael Crowell, an economist with the Labor Department in Hicksville.
“It’s a sign that there is a number of discouraged workers,” he said, adding that those finding work did so outside of Long Island.
And while the job count fell, Crowell pointed out that four sectors added jobs in November whereas only one sector did so in October.
In the Town of Oyster Bay unemployment rose slightly from 5.9 percent in October to 6 percent in November. The Town jobless rate was 6.6 percent in 2010. There were 9,100 people without jobs in Oyster Bay last month up from 9.000 unemployed in November.
In Nassau, the unemployment rate was 6.4 percent in November, just as it was in October. It was at 7 percent in November 2010. There were 43,300 Nassau County residents listed as unemployed in November, up from 42,900 in October, and 48,000 a year ago.
Meanwhile, the private sector job count across Long Island fell over the year by 4,400. Leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, other services, information, and financial activities all took hits. Government employment fell by 4,200.
Industries with job gains included health care and social assistance, retail trade; and administrative, support and waste management.
Massapequa merchants said they're still feeling uncertainty.
Fred Grant, owner of Inside The Park Cafe on Park Blvd in Massapequa Park, said the local food service industry is especially feeling the harsh sting of the economy.
"It's very sluggish," he said. "It's definitely hurting the restaurant business...I have customers who used to come in three, four days a week, and now it's every other week. And they all say the reason is that they haven't been hired yet, or their unemployment has run out, or they had to tap into their 401K plan. It's hurting everybody."
Grant said that his cafe is not hiring, andthey've been forced to cut back on their staff.
"During the holidays it picks up a little bit," he said. "But come the first of the year, for the restaurant business, it's slow until St. Patrick's Day."
Mike Agnone, owner of on Park Blvd, said that his business is weathering the storm, but it hasn't been easy.
"Business is finicky...one day's up, one day's down," he said. "Overall, I'm not really seeing any improvements in the economy."
While Agnone said he had needed some extra help during the yuletide season, it's not likely to last past the end of the month.
"We just hired one person for the holidays," he said. "It's just seasonal help."
But Crowell sees some room for optimism. Although Long Island lost jobs, he said “the decline is a good deal smaller than it was a month ago" when there was only one sector adding jobs.
Crowell said that the gains could mean that Long Island is heading in the same direction as other parts of the state that added jobs in October.
“I continue to be hopeful,” he said. “There is variability in the numbers. To the extent that the numbers can tell us anything, I guess this is good news.”--