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Queens Chronicle

Federal funds ease the jobless rate statewide

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Posted: Thursday, September 10, 2009 12:00 am

New York State’s unemployment rate went down slightly from June to July, the state Labor Department said in its most recent monthly analysis, issued in late August.

The statewide private sector job count increased somewhat, marking the first month-to-month increase in a year, which the department said is due in part to the federal financial stimulus plan enacted earlier this year.

“Stimulus-funded projects helped boost employment in the construction sector,” said Peter Neenan, the department’s director of research and statistics. “In addition, there was a much larger than normal increase in government-funded summer youth hiring this year.”

Public spending typically funds 25,000 summer youth jobs, Neenan said, while this year the total was roughly 60,000.

Queens and New York City, however, still saw increases in unemployment. In Queens the jobless rate rose from 8.5 to 8.8 percent, compared to 5.1 percent in July 2008. And in the city as a whole, it rose from 9.4 to 9.6 percent — the highest rate since June 1997 — whereas it had been 5.4 percent one year ago.

Statewide, the jobless rate declined from 8.7 percent in June to 8.6 percent in July. If the city were removed from the state calculations, the rate would be 7.9 percent. The number of unemployed fell from 851,100 in June to 835,900 in July.

The statewide private sector job count increased by 14,000, or 0.2 percent, to 7,089,500, marking the first monthly increase in a year. Adding in the public sector, the job count increased over the month by 62,100, or 0.7 percent, to 8,644,600.

— Peter C. Mastrosimone

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