BATON ROUGE – December marked the 15th month in a row that Louisiana added private sector jobs, with 48,300 added over the year, the Louisiana Workforce Commission reported today. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December improved to 6.8 percent, returning to the same level as in June 2009.
Louisiana’s unemployment rate tied for 16th lowest in the nation with Massachusetts and Montana, and the fourth lowest in the Southern region. The Southern region rate for December was 8.4 percent, and the U.S. rate was 8.5 percent. The unemployment rate is based on a sample survey of residences by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The survey of residences shows Louisiana’s civilian labor force - the number of people working or looking for work - for December 2011 was 2,047,053, down 866 from the November revised figure, and down 42,179 people over the year. The number of unemployed fell from 140,617 in November to 140,212 in December.
A separate survey of employers shows the state continued to gain jobs over last year. Employers reported a seasonally adjusted total of 1,938,000 nonfarm jobs in December, a net gain of 47,600 jobs from December 2010. Louisiana added 600 nonfarm jobs over the month from November 2011 to December 2011.
“2011 was marked by very consistent and solid job growth, and all of the growth was in the private sector,” said Curt Eysink, LWC executive director. “Those numbers indicate that employers find Louisiana to be a great place to grow and do business.”
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 6.5 percent in November to 6.4 percent in December.
Unemployment rates in five of the state’s metropolitan statistical areas improved while the rates in the other three remained unchanged in December. Unemployment rates in the MSAs in December were:
• Alexandria, 6.2 percent, down from 6.3 percent in November
• Baton Rouge, 6.5 percent, unchanged
• Houma, 4.3 percent, down from 4.5 percent
• Lafayette, 4.6 percent, down from 4.9 percent
• Lake Charles, 5.9 percent, unchanged
• Monroe, 6.9 percent, unchanged
• New Orleans, 6.4 percent, down from 6.5 percent
• Shreveport, 5.9 percent, down from 6.0 percent
Not seasonally adjusted data are used to compare areas within the state to each other and to the state as a whole. Not seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment in Louisiana remained unchanged from November to December 2011 at 1,946,700, representing a gain of 47,400 workers over December 2010.
Retail trade added the most jobs over the month as businesses prepared for the holiday season with an increase of 3,000 workers. Health care and social assistance had the highest annual gain with an increase of 17,600 jobs.
All of the metro areas had nonfarm employment gains over the year with the New Orleans MSA leading the state with an increase of 6,000, followed by Lafayette with 5,800; Houma, 3,100; Lake Charles, 2,200; Alexandria, 1,400; and Baton Rouge, 1,100 additional workers. The Shreveport and Monroe MSAs had annual gains of 900 and 700 respectively.
For more detailed information on December 2011 employment data for Louisiana, visit our website 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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