New York's unemployment rate continued to climb, reaching 15.9% in July even as the private sector added jobs last month, the state Department of Labor on Thursday reported. 

The state saw an increase of 244,200 jobs, a 3.6% increase in July. But issues remains as the coronavirus pandemic-induced recession lingers across the economy. 

Unemployment outside of New York City saw an increase from June to July, growing from 12.2% to 13.1%. New York City, where the pandemic hit the entertainment, hospitality and food service industries especially hard, saw a slight drop in its rate from 20.3% to 19.8%. 

The picture has darkened in recent weeks for unemployed people as a $600-a-week pandemic relief check expired at the start of August.

Congress is yet to agree on another stimulus pacakage, while President Trump wants states to kick in a portion of the aid to jobless people. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has rejected the proposal.

The state gradually began to reopening businesses and workplaces in the spring after a virtual shutdown of economic activity in March in order to halt the spread of the virus. 

The Department of Labor pointed to the private-sector job growth as a bright spot amid the economic distress as it grew by 3.6%, a faster rate last month than the rest of the country. The U.S. unempoyment rate overall was 10.2% last month. 

But the job count from this time last year is down sharply in New York by 14.2% -- indicating it will be a steep climb for regaining the losses incurred by the pandemic.