Today’s news:

Queens unemployment rises to 9.3% in Dec.

Nearly 5,000 more Queens residents were out of work between November and last month, leading to a slight increase in the borough’s unemployment numbers, according to data released last week by the state Department of Labor.

The borough’s unemployment rate rose 0.4 percent from November 2009 to December 2009 — from 8.9 percent to 9.3 percent, statistics showed.

Queens’ unemployment rate is lower than the 9.7 percent nationwide, but higher than the 8.8 percent rate in New York state for December.

The borough’s rate is the third-lowest in the city, trailing Manhattan’s 9 percent and Staten Island’s 9.1 percent. The largest percentage of unemployed residents belonged to the Bronx with 13.9 percent. Brooklyn had the second-largest unemployment rate with 11.2 percent. The citywide rate was 10.4 percent.

The U.S. jobless rate hit 10 percent in December.

Compared to December 2008, the borough’s unemployment rate climbed nearly 3 percent, from 6.4 percent to 9.3 percent.

There were nearly 5,000 more Queens residents on the unemployment rolls between November 2009 and December 2009.

Last month, there were 106,000 borough residents without work, compared to 101,800 in November 2009, according to labor statistics.

Statewide, the unemployment rate increased at the same rate as the borough — 0.4 percent. Nearly 814,000 state residents were without work in November 2009, compared to 848,800 in December 2009.

“In December 2009, New York state’s unemployment rate remained well below the nation’s rate, while employers in the state cut jobs over the past year at a more modest pace than those in the U.S.,” said Peter A. Neenan, director of the DOL’s Division of Research and Statistics. “Experience suggests that the unemployment rate may continue to increase in the early stages of an economic recovery as some firms are slow to hire new workers and job seekers re-enter the labor force.”

Since the state went into a recession in August 2008, it lost 263,500 private sector jobs, or about two-thirds of the jobs added during the state’s economic boom from 2003 to 2008, the DOL said.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

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