The statewide unemployment rate dipped below 5% in February as the economy continued to slowly recover the jobs lost during the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic two years ago. 

The state Department of Labor on Thursday announced New York's private-sector unemployment rate fell from 5.3% to 4.9% statewide. The private-sector job count increased in the state by 0.5% and added 39,800 jobs. 

The increase mirrors a growth in jobs across the country in February. 

In New York City, which has struggled with an unemployment rate far higher than the rest of the state, some improvements were made in February. The city's unemployment rate fell from 7.6% to 7% a month ago. 

Outside of New York City, joblessnewss is reaching a record low since 1976, dropping from 3.6% to 3.4%, the Department of Labor said.