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Date:January 18, 2013
Contact:Media Relations @ (225) 342-3035

Louisiana unemployment rate hits four-year low

BATON ROUGE — Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 5.5 percent in December to its lowest level since November 2008, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

A survey of residences shows Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted civilian labor force-—the number of people working or looking for work—grew to 2,083,064 in December, the largest the labor force has been since November 2005. The number of people working increased to 1,968,226 in December, up 49,757 over the year. The number of unemployed dropped to 114,838 in December, a decrease of 29,382 over the year.

A separate survey of employers showed that Louisiana’s private sector added 26,800 jobs over the year to a seasonally adjusted total of 1,591,000 jobs, extending the state’s streak of private sector employment gains over the year to 28 consecutive months. Total seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment in December was 1,950,500 in Louisiana, an increase of 23,500 over the year, but down 11,400 from the previous month.

“Our workforce continues to grow and get stronger, and that helps employers grow and prosper in our state,” Louisiana Workforce Commission Executive Director Curt Eysink said. “Louisiana has become one of the best states where you can get a job or grow a business.”

Louisiana’s 5.5 percent unemployment rate was 0.3 percent lower than in November and was 1.5 percent lower than the state’s revised rate for December 2011. Louisiana was tied with Minnesota and Virginia for the 11th lowest rate in the nation. The national unemployment rate held steady in December at 7.8 percent, while the Southern regional rate dropped to 7.2 percent. Louisiana was tied with Virginia for the second lowest rate in the South region.

Last year, BLS implemented a new method to estimate nonfarm employment that greatly reduces state input into the results. The effect has been greater variability from one month to the next, particularly for areas that are smaller than the state, such as metropolitan statistical areas, and for industry sectors or subsectors.

Not seasonally adjusted estimates for MSAs and parishes will be released on Friday, Jan. 25. For more detailed information on the December 2012 employment data for Louisiana, visit Louisiana’s employment homepage at www.laworks.net and select Labor Market Information from the top right-hand menu. Then select LOIS (Louisiana Occupational Information System) and select Employment and Wage Data listed under Historical Data Analysis.

To view the BLS nonfarm estimates for the state, click here: http://data.bls.gov/pdq/querytool.jsp?survey=la.

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