NYC jobless rate steadies at 8.6 percent in May

NEW YORK Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:11pm EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City's unemployment rate in May was 8.6 percent, unchanged from the previous month, though private employers hired 50,000 workers over the last three months, according to state labor data issued Thursday.

The increase in private sector jobs was "well above the 10-year average for March to May," James Brown, an analyst with the state Department of Labor said by email.

Tourism and professional and business services -- the strongest sector over the past year -- both remained robust in May. "On a less positive note, the education and health, financial activities and information sectors all lost jobs in May," said Brown. Retail employment was also weak in May.

Wall Street, the wellspring of New York City's economy, shed around 1,000 workers in May, slipping to a total of 167,500 positions. The city has nearly 3.2 million workers.

New York City's latest unemployment rate is down one percentage point from the year-ago level of 9.6 percent.

For New York state, the data was weaker. While the jobless rate was unchanged in May at 7.9 percent, the state lost 21,200 private sector jobs in the month.

That works out to 0.3 percent of the total workforce.

"Since the state's economic recovery began in November 2009, New York has recouped 45 percent, or 148,700, of the private sector jobs lost during the recession in 2008-2009, said Bohdan Wynnyk, chief of statistics, Division of Research and Statistics,

The state's year-ago unemployment rate was 8.6 percent.

(Reporting by Joan Gralla; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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