New York's unemployment rate dropped from 8.9% to 8.5% between February and March at a slightly faster rate than the rest of the country, the state Department of Labor on Thursday announced. 

New York added 61,200 private-sector jobs last month as the economy works to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and the sharp increase in joblessness as a result of limits placed on public gathering places. 

New York's private-sector job count reached 7.4 million, an increase of 0.8%. The rest of the country, by contrast, saw its private-sector job count grow by 0.6%.


Still, New York's unemployment rate is still higher than the rest of the country. Nationally, joblessness stands at 6%. 

The state lost millions of jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic as the northeast was among the first regions to be hardest hit by the virus. Many of those jobs were in the leisure and hospitality sector, state officials have said.