BATON ROUGE — Seasonally adjusted data for March showed Louisiana’s private sector employers added jobs over the year for the 31st consecutive month, pushing private employment to an all-time high of 1,597,900, according to federal Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
The state’s private sector added 29,600 jobs over the year, based on a BLS survey of businesses. The increase helped push total nonfarm employment in March to 1,944,200, a 1.3 percent increase over the year and a 0.1 percent increase over the month.
“These numbers validate what we’ve been hearing from employers in many industries, that business is really looking up,” Louisiana Workforce Commission Executive Director Curt Eysink said.
Total government employment in March was 346,300, its lowest level since July 2006, the BLS figures show.
A separate BLS survey of households shows Louisiana’s civilian labor force—the number of people working plus those looking for work—was 2,090,882 in March, up 5,465 over the year and down 4,590 over the month. The number of employed was 1,961,495, an over-the-year increase of 18,632 but a decline from the previous month of 7,293. The number of unemployed was 129,387, down 13,167 over the year but up 2,703 over the month.
Those over-the-month changes resulted in a March unemployment rate of 6.2 percent, down from 6.8 percent a year ago but up from 6.0 percent in February. The national unemployment rate in March was 7.6 percent, down from 8.2 percent over year and 7.7 percent over the month. The south regional average rate was 7.2 percent, with Louisiana’s March rate ranking third best rate in the region.
In 2011, 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.
For more detailed information on the March 2013 employment data for Louisiana, visit Louisiana’s employment homepage at http://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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