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Mixed Unemployment Message for TOBAY

Statistical review shows the rate alone tells only part of the story; local workers appear to be leaving the area.

Fewer Long Islanders found themselves unemployed in October compared to a year ago but, at the same time, the number of private sector jobs on Long Island also fell.

That’s according to recent New York State Labor Department statistics, the latest of which were released Tuesday.

The reasons for the decline in unemployment and job count may vary, said , an economist with the Labor Department in Hicksville.

“There are discouraged workers, and people finding work in the city,” he said.

Another possible reason? “People may be leaving the area,” he said.

Unemployment in Nassau County and the Town of Oyster Bay dropped in October, but the statistics may not tell the whole story.

In the Town of Oyster Bay, the unemployment rate for October was 5.9 percent, down from 6.2 percent only a month ago and down from 6.5 percent in October 2010.

However, the rate itself does not reflect a better local economy. In fact, the numbers imply workers are leaving the area.

A year ago, the counted 154,000 people in its workforce. This month, the total workforce -- the number of all workers, with or without jobs, had dwindled to 151,800, state labor records reveal. In October, 2010, there were 144,000 people working in the town. This past month, that number had dropped to 142,800.

The state listed 9,000 Oyster Bay residents as currently unemployed. See the complete list here.

A similar trend was revealed across Nassau County, where the unemployment rate was 6.4 percent in October, down from 6.7 percent in September. It was at 6.9 percent in October 2010. There were 43,000 Nassau County residents listed as unemployed in October, up from 45,100 in September, and 47,100 a year ago.

Meanwhile, the private sector job count across Long Island fell over the year by 8,300. Leisure and hospitality; manufacturing; educational services; and trade, transportation and utilities all took hits.

And the construction sector, which had shown year-to-year gains in September, lost 100 jobs in October.

Bright spots included professional and business services and health care and social assistances.

“I’d like to think of declining unemployment as good,” Crowell said. “But with the declining number of jobs, I’m less optimistic."

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