BATON ROUGE – January’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm job count shows an increase of 7,800 private sector jobs over the last month, the Louisiana Workforce Commission reported today. Louisiana now has enjoyed 20 consecutive months of year-over-year private sector job growth, up from a previous report of 15 consecutive months. Louisiana added a total of 39,900 private industry jobs created over the past year.
The BLS routinely refines and updates the data on which its national labor market reports are based. As a result of recent annual benchmarking changes, the assessment of Louisiana’s private sector job growth was increased to 20 consecutive months from an earlier estimate of 15 consecutive months.
A federal Bureau of Labor Statistics survey of employers shows a total of 1,943,500 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs in January. There was a net increase of 6,300 nonfarm jobs over the month. This marks an increase in total nonfarm jobs of 41,300 over the past 12 months.
January employment figures are heavily affected by people leaving seasonal jobs, such as those related to Christmas hires in retail sales and shipping, and those not working during breaks from college and university campuses between the fall and spring semesters. Seasonal adjustments are made to employment data to account for these annual trends.
This month, BLS revised the December 2011 seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Louisiana upward from 6.8 percent to 7.0 percent. Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January 2012 was 6.9 percent showing a decrease of 0.1 percent from December 2011 and 0.8 percent from January 2011. Louisiana’s unemployment rate was tied with Massachusetts and Wisconsin for the 16th lowest in the nation and fourth lowest in the South Region. The rate for the South Region was 8.2 percent. The national unemployment rate for January 2012 was down by 0.2 percent over the month to 8.3 percent. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the number of unemployed people in Louisiana fell by 1,857 over the past month and 18,165 over the past 12 months to 142,363. The survey of households shows Louisiana’s civilian labor force - the number of people working or looking for work – declined to 2,058,432 or 4,257 fewer people than the December 2011 revised figure of 2,062,689.
“These are the first reports that show the growth we experienced statewide last year is continuing into 2012,” said LWC Executive Director Curt Eysink. “It is also very positive that Louisiana’s strong performance against the South and the Nation is also continuing in 2012.”
As a result of benchmarking, the December 2011 seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate for Louisiana was also revised from 6.4 to 6.6 percent. Statewide, the seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate increased to 7.5 percent in January 2012. Again, this 0.9 percent increase over the month reflects those not working during semester breaks on college campuses and reductions to retail staffs following the holiday season. The U.S. unadjusted rate also increased over the month from 8.3 to 8.8 percent in January.
Statewide, seasonally unadjusted nonfarm employment declined by 22,100 jobs over the month yet remains 45,900 jobs higher over the past year. Total private sector jobs have increased by 44,800 on a seasonally unadjusted basis over the previous 12 months. Statewide, eight of the 10 private industry sectors are showing over-the-year increases in total jobs. The two remaining private sectors, other services and information, lost a total of 900 jobs over the previous 12 months.
Seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates are used to compare the economic activity of the state’s parishes and metro areas. While all eight metropolitan statistical areas in the state recorded increases in unemployment rates over the month, employment over the year remains strong. The Lafayette MSA had the largest job growth among metro areas with an increase of 10,300 seasonally unadjusted nonfarm jobs over the past 12 months. This was followed by over-the-year increases in New Orleans (8,300 jobs), Houma (4,700 jobs), Baton Rouge (2,700 jobs), Shreveport (1,200 jobs), Monroe (900 jobs), and Lake Charles (400 jobs). Alexandria was the only MSA to post a decline over the past 12 months with losses totaling 1,100 nonfarm jobs.
For more detailed information on January 2012 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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