By Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau Chief
ALBANY New York's unemployment rate fell from 7.8 percent to 7.6 percent between April and May, the lowest level since February 2009 and on par with the national rate, the state Labor Department announced Thursday.
New York's unemployment rate had outpaced the national rate. In May, the unemployment rate nationally was also 7.6 percent.
The number of unemployed New Yorkers fell by 18,300 to 729,800 between April and May. The unemployment rate in New York City dropped from 8.4 percent to 8.3 percent, while it fell in the rest of the state from 7.4 percent to 7.1 percent between April and May, the labor department said.
Still, the growth in New York's economy was lower than the national average. Since May 2012, the number of private sector jobs in New York increased by 104,200, or 1.4 percent. It grew 2 percent nationally over the same period.
"The New York state economy continued to show strength in May 2013 as the state's unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level since early 2009," said Bohdan Wynnyk, deputy director of the Labor Department's division of research and statistics.
The labor statistics showed how the economy's growth has differed between upstate and downstate. In the 10-county downstate region, private-sector jobs grew by 2 percent over the past year. In the 52 counties upstate, the job growth was 0.8 percent.
Private-sector jobs grew the most on Long Island at 2.7 percent, and in the Kingston and Glens Falls areas at 2.6 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively. Growth was also 2 percent in New York City and the Poughkeepsie area.
The only metropolitan areas in the state to lose private sector jobs between May 2012 and May 2013 were Elmira, down 1.2 percent, and Binghamton at 0.1 percent.
Professional and business services added 40,400 jobs over the past year, the most of any sector. Government lost the most jobs: 18,500 over the past year, including 14,400 on the local level. That outpaced the loss in manufacturing jobs, which had a decline of 13,300.
For more information on the latest labor figures, visit: http://labor.ny.gov/stats/pressreleases/pruistat.shtm