New York's statewide unemployment rate in October fell from 7.1% to 6.9% in October as the economy added more than 40,000 jobs in the private sector, the state Department of Labor announced Thursday.

The state's gain of 41,300 jobs in October was a 0.5% increase, matching the private sector increase nationwide. But New York remains at a slower pace than the rest of the country overall. The nationwide unemployment rate stands at 4.6%.

New York shed 2 million jobs during the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the unemployment rate shot up to levels not seen since the Great Depression. Since pandemic-related restrictions on businesses and schools have eased, the state's unemployment rate has slowly climbed back down.

And unemployment remains higher in New York City than the rest of the state. Joblessness in New York City last month fell from 9.8% to 9.4%. Outside New York City, unemployment dropped from 5.1% to 5%, the Department of Labor said.

Still, there are signs of improved trends, according to economist James Parrott, the director of economic and fiscal policy at the New School. Parrott pointed to the New York City data showing a swifter rebound as Broadway reopens, which in turn has aided businesses in the hospitality and tourism sectors like restaurants and hotels.

But there are also signs of improvement in other industries, including professional and consulting services as well as ambulatory health care.

"Overall, the October data indicated that almost every sector of the city economy shared in the rebound, and that fewer industries reduced jobs in October compared to recent months," he said.