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ALBANY – New York’s job growth rate is trailing the nation for the first time in six years, the state’s chief fiscal watchdog reported Friday.

The job growth rate in New York was 1.8 percent in 2012, down from 2.1 percent the previous year, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said.

The nation’s job growth level went from 1.8 percent to 2.2 percent.

While New York’s unemployment picture has been improving, private-sector job growth in the state in the one-year period ending this past June was 1.5 percent, below the nation’s 2.1 percent level.

“The good news is that New York’s job count has increased above its pre-recession levels. The bad news is that, over the past year, we have fallen short of the national growth rate in several major employment sectors," DiNapoli said in releasing the employment report this morning.

Robert Megna, who is Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s budget director, called DiNapoli’s report “baffling.’’ He said it is in “direct contradiction’’ to a report issued the day before by Moody’s Investor Service when the Wall Street rating agency upgraded the outlook on New York to a positive rating.

“Moody’s report, which the comptroller issued a statement applauding just yesterday, cited the recent job growth, which includes adding 300,000 private sector jobs in the last two and a half years, has ‘surpassed or closely approximated the U.S.,’ ’’ Megna said in a statement.

From 2007 through 2012, New York lost 100,000 manufacturing jobs, a 16.9 percent decline, compared to the nation’s drop of 14.1 percent. In the past year alone, New York’s manufacturing jobs are down 3.6 percent.

What the report called a bright spot in the numbers was the inflow of people from other countries to New York. Without such international immigration, New York would have seen its overall population drop 680,000 people. Instead, the state’s overall population grew 2.4 percent in the 10-year period ending in 2012.

In the one-year period ending in June, the state added 110,000 jobs. It said the growth has been geographically uneven, with private-sector growth up in places like Buffalo, New York City and the Albany area, but there have been “sizable” private-sector employment declines in Syracuse, Utica, Binghamton and Elmira.

The report said the state is trailing the nation’s job growth in almost all major sectors, including trade, transportation, professional services, construction, financial services and leisure and hospitality. The financial, real estate and insurance sectors are crucial because while they employ only 9.5 percent of New Yorkers they account for 27 percent of the state’s economic output, the report said.

New York has done better than the United States as a whole, the report said, in education and health care sectors.

The report said the state did not fare as poorly during the recession as some other states because New York had not gone through major spikes in housing prices, which then plummeted during the recession amid a collapse in the real estate market.

In a state known for its high taxes, at least New Yorkers make more money, on average, than the nation as a whole. New York’s per capita income is $52,095, compared to $42,693 for the nation.

DiNapoli’s report came as a national construction group reported most metropolitan areas in New York saw gains in construction jobs from July 2012 to last month. The Buffalo and Niagara Falls areas were one of only two areas in the state, however, that saw a drop in construction jobs during the period, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. The number of construction-related jobs in Western New York fell 3 percent to 20,900 positions, while the state as a whole saw an increase of 3 percent in construction jobs.

email: tprecious@buffnews.com