While the unemployment rate in the Town of Brookhaven continues to trend downward - the jobless rate in town has dropped in seven out of eight months this year - the number of those currently holding jobs continues the same trend, both in town and across Suffolk County.
The August unemployment rate of 7.4 percent in Brookhaven dropped from 7.7 percent in the same month last year. However, as employers continue to struggle to create jobs, over 4,000 fewer residents are without work this year.
"The question comes up, how come the unemployment rate is going down while the number of jobs is shrinking?" said Michael Crowell, labor economist with the New York State Department of Labor. "People are finding jobs out of the region."
According to numbers provided by the state, the number of private sector jobs on Long Island fell over the year by over 10,000, or a decrease of 1 percent of Long Island's 1.02 million jobs.
"There are two things going on," Crowell said. "First is the group of discouraged workers. If they are not looking for or actively seeking work, they do not count as unemployed."
In Brookhaven, over 263,000 individuals were part of the labor force in August 2010, with nearly 243,000 employed. Those numbers fell to 257,500 in the job force and 238,500 working by last month.
"Another thing is that a lot of Long Islanders work mainly in New York City, Westchester County, Connecticut, etc. So a lot of people may be becoming employed, but doing so off-island," Crowell said.
"Almost any economy you can pick is doing better than ours."