Nassau County unemployment rate dips below 3 percent

Nassau County unemployment rate dips below 3 percent
The majority of New York experienced unemployment rates below 4 percent in November, including Nassau County, which has an unemployment rate of 2.9 percent. (Photo courtesy of the New York State Department of Labor)

Nassau County’s unemployment rate dipped below 3 percent for the first time in nearly two decades, monthly unemployment data released by the state labor department shows, performing better than the state and country overall.

According to data, Nassau County’s November unemployment rate was 2.9 percent compared to 4.1 percent last year. New York State had an overall unemployment rate of 3.5 percent in November this year and 4.4 percent in November 2017.

Out of New York’s 62 counties, Nassau County was in a five-way tie for having the second lowest monthly unemployment rate in November. The only county with a better performance was Columbia County at 2.6 percent.

“It’s a great report for the region,” Shital Patel, a Long Island-based analyst with the state labor department, said on Friday morning.

This is the lowest monthly unemployment rate for November since 1999, which had a 2.7 percent unemployment rate.

The last time the rate was lower than three percent in Nassau County was in December 2000.

The towns of North Hempstead and Oyster Bay both recorded a 2.8 percent unemployment rate, while Hempstead town was 3 percent and the cities of Glen Cove and Long Beach had respective rates of 2.7 and 2.9 percent.

New York State’s data is not yet seasonally adjusted and only available for municipalities with 25,000 people or more.

Long Island’s overall unemployment rate in November was 3 percent – the lowest since 1999. It only went below 3 percent in 1999 and 1998.

The national unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in November, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“It’s definitely safe to say that we’re near full employment,” Patel said of the local numbers, noting that “it’s hard to say how much lower it can go.”

Patel also said this is a product of long-term stable job growth and a slowly growing population. But as the population gets older and younger people leave Long Island, Patel said there could be “cause for concern for the labor market” in the long term.

“We’re just going to have to find ways to deal with our aging workforce and keeping younger people on Long Island,” Patel said, adding that governments and agencies have been making a push for more affordable housing.

According to a recently released report from Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman, the county is experiencing a “brain drain.”

Between 2000 and 2016, the population aged 55 to 64 increased 48 percent, while the population aged 25 to 44 fell 18 percent, according to the report.

“Government needs to better serve its entire population if we are to keep growing our local economy,” Schnirman previously said. “That means we must gear up to better communicate and provide services to an increasingly aging and diverse population while also putting policies in place that will attract young people.”

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