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NYC unemployment rate tips to the lowest point in 8 years

Job seekers wait in line to enter a

Job seekers wait in line to enter a job fair hosted by the State of New York at the Shirley A. Chisholm State Office Building in Brooklyn on April 12, 2012. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Justin Sullivan

The Big Apple's unemployment rate shrunk to 4.8% in October, the lowest levels since the recession and leaders and economic experts say this is sign that New York's economy is on the booming track.

The city gained 95,900 jobs between October 2014 and last month, accounting of about 58% of the new jobs in the state, according to the report released Thursday by the state's Department of Labor. Unemployment levels haven't been this low since February 2007 and have decreased by almost 2% in the last year.

Giacomo Santangelo, an economics professor from Fordham University, said the figures are very promising since they aren't tied to any seasonal changes in the job market.

"These numbers, they count, because they don't tie into holiday sales," he said. "This is real job growth."

The city's Economic Development Corporation said the top three business sectors that saw a boost between October 2014 and last month were health care, which had 34% of total growth, retail, which grew by 12.1%, and finance which grew by 10.3%.

Santangelo said the increase in health care jobs is part of a national trend of a jump in health centers, offices and online services across the nation. The funding from the Affordable Care Act helps medical professionals with private practice pay for space, staff and other materials.

"These walk in clinics ... they're popping up everywhere because docs are seeing not only a service to the people and tapping into that extra money," he said.

EDC president Maria Torres-Springer said tech was also a big factor in the decrease in unemployment numbers. The startup community accounts for more than 300,000 New York employees and continues to expand, and last month the information services, one of the main contributors to the tech ecosystem, grew by 2,100 jobs, according to EDC.

"Growth in the health care and tech sectors means that more people are on pathways to careers in well-paying fields," Torres-Springer said in a statement.

Some New Yorkers, however, were skeptical of the numbers, because a well-paying job is still hard to find.

"There's no guarantee, you know. It's like, the good jobs come if you know someone," said Amber Arteaga, 20, a college student. "The well-connected can get the better jobs, if you're good at networking and all that."

Nonetheless, Santangelo said the news is great for the city's overall economic outlook and recovery from the recession and it's setting an example. The national unemployment rate was 5% in October while the rest of New York state was 4.9%

"We've been waiting for the numbers to come down for such a long time," he said.

(With Felipe De La Hoz)

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