Sep 21, 2012 12:11 PM EDT

New York City Jobless Rate Steady At 9.9 Percent

New York City's unemployment rate eased to 9.9 percent in August from 10 percent in July, the state Department of Labor said on Thursday, and the city's most important industry, Wall Street, hired about 1,000 workers.

Still, the latest unemployment rate for America's most populous city was higher than the year-ago level of 9.1 percent.

New York state's unemployment rate was unchanged in August at 9.1 percent, and was also higher than the year-ago level of 8.3 percent, the Labor Department said.

In comparison, the U.S. unemployment rate was 8.1 percent in August, down from 8.3 percent in July and 9.1 percent a year-ago.

New York City's securities industry, the backbone of its economy, grew to a total of 171,600 employees. That was below the year-ago level of 174,000. The August gains might not be sustained. Several banks, under pressure to cut costs amid an uncertain economy, in July were planning fresh rounds of staff cuts in trading and underwriting..

New York City's private employers hired 93,100 workers in the 12-month period ending August 2012, said James Brown, a labor market analyst, with the state Labor Department.

Commuters appeared to be among the beneficiaries. "The number of city residents with jobs is essentially flat over the prior 12 months," he said in a statement.

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