New York's unemployment rate last month dipped below 8% as the private sector added 17,500 jobs in May, the state Department of Labor on Thursday announced. 

The jobless rate in New York fell from 8.2% to 7.8% based on those gains of about 0.2% in the last month, the report found. 

New York's unemployment rate, however, still remains above the national average of 5.8% and is nearly double from what it was before the start of the pandemic in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic led to millions of job losses in the state, especially key sectors of the state's economy like tourism and hospitality. 

The unemployment rate in New York City also remains high, but nevertheless fell from 11.4% to 10.9%. Unemployment outside of the city decreased from 5.7% to 5.5%. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week announced the state would ease some of the final COVID-realted restrictions on businesses as new coronavirus cases have plunged significantly in the last month as more New Yorkers are vaccinated. 

Still, business analysts expect it could take months for the economy and the unemployment picture to fully recover to pre-pandemic levels.