By Keiko Morris

The New York Rangers lost the Stanley Cup series but they likely helped the local job market by extending the season.

New York City added 20,700 private-sector jobs in May, a gain aided by a significant boost in leisure and hospitality work, said Elena Volovelsky, a labor market analyst with the New York State Department of Labor. That job category, which includes restaurants and catering operations at stadiums as well as hotels, expanded by 11,100 jobs, well above the typical 6,000 month-to-month increase.

The Rangers extension of its season added to the usual seasonal effect of catering operations resuming at major and minor-league baseball stadiums, Ms. Volovelsky said. These food-service businesses often retain or hire more workers during the various sports seasons, she said.

The city's May unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.9%, but the percentage of people with jobs or seeking work reached 60.4%--the highest rate since June 2010.

New Jersey's unemployment rate dropped by 0.1 percentage point to 6.8% in May as its labor force grew, according to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Connecticut's private sector also notched a gain last month, adding 5,000 jobs, according to the Connecticut Department of Labor. The state's unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.9%.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 20, 2014 01:01 ET (05:01 GMT)

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