6.20.12 at 8:49am by Associated Press A A Stewf, flickr Still below the national average. Long Island Unemployment Rate Rises Long Island's unemployment rate has been climbing. The state Labor Department says Long Island unemployment was at 7.4 percent in May. That's up from 6.7 percent a year earlier. According to Newsday, the figures raise concerns that the region's level of joblessness could remain persistently higher than before the financial crisis. Department analyst Shital Patel says "discouraged workers" resumed looking for jobs at a time when employment growth was slowing down. Long Island's jobless rate is still quite a bit below New York state's rate of 8.6 percent. The national unemployment level was 7.9 percent in May.