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Queens shed 13,000 jobs during historic Feb. losses

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Queens lost nearly 13,000 jobs in the month of February as the city suffered historic job losses, according to statistics from the state Labor Department.

The number of unemployed Queens residents jumped from approximately 74,300 to 87,100 in February, bringing the borough’s unemployment rate to 7.6 percent, the statistics showed. The unemployment rate citywide climbed from 6.9 percent to 8.1 percent, the largest recorded month−to−month loss in history as the economic recession continued to deepen, the Labor Department said.

“New York state’s recession deepened last month and it was devastating for workers,” said U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D−Astoria). “President Obama and Congress have worked hard over the past two months to pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to stimulate the economy and get people back to work, as well as programs to stabilize the housing market and financial system. These plans will need time to kick in, but today’s dismal numbers show we may need to do more down the road.”

Labor Department analyst James Brown, who specializes in the New York City economy, said Queens’ losses were linked to both the continued turmoil on Wall Street and a weakening wholesale and transportation industry, both of which constitute large swaths of the borough’s workforce.

“Job losses in Manhattan are obviously going to affect the wider region,” Brown said. “But Queens has the added factor of having the airports. That gives them an extra sort of sensitivity.”

Brown also said he does not expect numbers to improve in the near term either, particularly as the loss of 2,900 jobs from the closing of St. John’s and Mary Immaculate hospitals on Feb. 28 begins to be reflected in March unemployment claims.

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e−mail at sstirling@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 138.

Posted 6:32 pm, October 10, 2011
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