BATON ROUGE – Unemployment rates for the state and all metro areas improved in December as the state gained jobs over the year for the seventh straight month, the Louisiana Workforce Commission reported today.
The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December was 8 percent, down from the revised November rate of 8.2 percent. Louisiana’s unemployment rate is the 19th lowest in the nation and the fifth lowest in the Southern region. The Southern region rate for December was 9.3 percent, and the U.S. rate was 9.4 percent. The unemployment rate is based on a sample survey of residences by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.)
A separate survey of employers shows the state continued to gain jobs over last year. Employers reported a seasonally adjusted total of 1,906,300 nonfarm jobs in December, a net gain of 26,500 jobs from December 2009 and the seventh straight month that Louisiana has added jobs over the year. The growth was in the private sector while the number of government jobs declined.
“It is very encouraging that the state finished the year so strongly,” said Curt Eysink, LWC executive director. “The seven-month trend in jobs numbers is a healthy indicator that we are well into a rebound from the effects of the national recession.”
Not seasonally adjusted rates are used to compare unemployment rates among parishes and metro areas. Louisiana’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate went down from 7.7 percent in November to 7.2 percent in December. Unemployment rates for metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in December:
• Alexandria, 6.7 percent, down from 7.2 percent in November
• Baton Rouge, 7.1 percent, down from 7.7 percent
• Houma, 5.1 percent, down from 5.7 percent
• Lafayette, 5.6 percent, down from 6.2 percent
• Lake Charles, 6.7 percent, down from 7.2 percent
• Monroe, 7.7 percent, down from 8.2 percent
• New Orleans, 7.0 percent, down from 7.6 percent
• Shreveport, 6.6 percent, down from 7.2 percent
The New Orleans MSA led the state with an increase of 3,500 nonfarm jobs over the year, followed by Shreveport with 2,900; Lafayette, 2,800; and Lake Charles, 2,000. Baton Rouge, Houma and Alexandria had annual gains of less than 1,000 while Monroe had a 900-job loss over the year.
Private sector jobs continue to drive job gains. The December unadjusted nonfarm job total reflects an annual gain of 29,600 private sector jobs while government jobs decreased by 3,300. The largest gains over the year were in the health care and social assistance industry subsector with 8,500 new jobs and retail trade subsector with a 6,900-job gain.
The survey of residences shows Louisiana’s civilian labor force - the number of people working or looking for work - for December 2010 was 2,104,562, down 7,696 from the November revised figures, but up 36,565 people over the year. The number of unemployed fell from 172,509 in November to 168,008 in December.
For more detailed information on December 2010 employment data for Louisiana, visit our Web site at www.laworks.net and select Labor Market Information. Then select Monthly Employment Bulletin – Workforce at a Glance or Monthly Employment Statistics Press Release for the latest monthly nonfarm and labor force data.
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