BATON ROUGE – The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell sharply to 7.2 percent in August from the July rate of 7.6 percent, and private sector employers added 40,000 jobs over the year, according to figures reported today by the Louisiana Workforce Commission.
This is the third straight month of improvement in the unemployment rate and the 11th consecutive month that the state has recorded over-the-year gains in nonfarm private sector jobs.
Seasonally adjusted results of a survey of Louisiana employers by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics show the state’s total nonfarm employment was 1,912,100 jobs in August, an over-the-year job gain of 31,600 jobs. This includes a reduction in government jobs -- including federal, state and local government and all public education systems -- which offsets some of the private sector gains.
A separate BLS survey of households is used to estimate the state’s civilian labor force, the number of people employed and unemployed, and the unemployment rate. The August unemployment rate of 7.2 percent is Louisiana's lowest of the year and was the 13th lowest in the nation, tied with Minnesota, and the third lowest in the Southern region. The Southern region rate for August was 9.1 percent. The national rate was unchanged from July at 9.1 percent. Louisiana was one of 12 states that recorded an unemployment rate decrease in August.
“Louisiana's numbers all are trending positively and show that our economy is moving well in the right direction,” said LWC Executive Director Curt Eysink.
According to the household survey, the number of people unemployed in Louisiana dropped again for a new low for the year, decreasing 7,525 to 146,673. The number of people employed in August increased 1,826 to 1,885,385. Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted civilian labor force -- the number of people working or looking for work -- for August 2011 was 2,032,058, a decrease of 5,699 from July.
The employer survey shows industry sectors with annual job gains were: Education and health services, 285,800, up 14,400 over the year; leisure and hospitality, 201,000, up 7,600 jobs; manufacturing 143,100, up 6,400 jobs; trade, transportation, and utilities, 369,800, up 6,300 workers; information, 28,500, up 2,900 since August 2010; financial activities, 95,200, up 2,000 workers; mining and logging, 54,300, up 1,900 jobs; and construction, up 1,700 jobs to 123,100. Over-the-year decreases were in government, 353,800 down 8,400 jobs; professional and business services, down 2,800 jobs to 191,800; and other services, down 400 to 65,700. Over-the-month August nonfarm employment decreased 500 jobs from July 2011.
“The annual job gains are spread broadly across nearly every sector. That is another positive indicator for our economy,” Eysink said.
The August nonfarm estimates are the sixth monthly set produced by BLS using a new methodology that has less state input into results than before. The use of the new methodology makes it difficult to compare results to reports produced previously and, according to BLS, may result in an increase in variability from one month to the next.
Not seasonally adjusted statewide, metropolitan statistical area and parish data will be released on Wednesday, Sept. 21.
For more detailed information on August 2011 employment data for Louisiana, visit the LWC website at www.laworks.net and select Labor Market Information from the top right-hand menu. Then select LOIS (Louisiana Occupational Information System) and Employment and Wage Data listed under Historical Data Analysis.
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