Employment in the lower Hudson Valley expanded in May, according to a state Department of Labor report, for the third straight month of growth.
An estimated 8,500 nonfarm jobs were added in Westchester, Rockland and Orange counties.
Almost all of the growth was in the private sector, with 8,400 new jobs. Local government added 100 jobs.
The 1.2 percent increase from April was twice as much as the national job growth rate of 0.6 percent and better than the statewide rate of 1.0.
From May to May, yearly nonfarm employment was up by 11,300 jobs, or 1.6 percent.
Administrative and support and waste management was the strongest sector with 2,400 new jobs, followed by accommodation and food services, 2,300, and retail trade, 1,400.
Educational services was the weakest sector, shedding 1,500 jobs. Professional, scientific and technical services lost 800 positions and hospitals were down by 300.
The broader seven-county Hudson Valley region – including Columbia, Dutchess, Putnam and Ulster counties – gained 12,000 jobs, for a 1.3 percent increase, last month.
The state picked up an estimated 97,900 jobs in May. Despite the increase, the unemployment rate widened to 4.4 percent, from 4.3, because more people are entering the labor force. So far this year, an estimated 175,000 more people have sought jobs.
The unemployment estimate is based on the current population survey and a monthly survey of 3,100 households.
The job count is based on a survey of 18,000 New York employers. Monthly estimates are preliminary, are not seasonally adjusted and could be revised as more data become available.