Long Island’s unemployment rate is slowly reaching pre-recession levels, dropping to 5.1 percent last month, according to the New York State Department of Labor.
The unemployment data released Tuesday comes on the heels of last week’s private sector jobs report that marked 43 consecutive months of year-over-year gains on Long Island.
“People are reentering the labor force,” said Shital Patel, a NYS Department of Labor market analyst.
December’s unemployment rate dropped 2 percentage points from last year, but is still a full percent behind what the rate was before the economy collapsed.
Nassau County’s unemployment rate fell by 2.1 percentage points compared to December 2012 to 4.8 percent, and Suffolk came in a 5.3 percent, a difference of 1.9 percent.
Overall, employment on LI appears to be outpacing New York State (6.6 percent unemployment rate) and the rest of the country (6.5 percent unemployment rate).
Labor officials said last week that Long Island private sector jobs increased over the year by 27,100, or 2.5 percent. LI’s total private sector workforce in December was 1,107,900.
LI had the second fastest private sector job growth in the entire state, according to the labor department.
Six of nine industries—including professional and business services, education and health services, trade, transportation, and utilities, natural resources, mining, construction, and leisure and hospitality—saw gains compared to last December.
But, the private sector job count decreased by 600 between November and December, the report noted.
It also appears that the job gains sparked by Superstorm Sandy cleanup efforts may be tapering off, according to the labor department, with administrative and support and waste management and remediation services industry shedding 2,100 jobs between November and December.
The three sectors that experienced losses from December 2012 to December 2013 were manufacturing, financial activities and information.
The government sector also lost 600 jobs.