BATON ROUGE – Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate improved to 4.5 percent in February, dropping for the seventh month in a row to the lowest level since July 2008. Not seasonally adjusted unemployment rates improved in every parish and metro area both over the month and over the year.
Seasonally adjusted data released today by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a drop in the statewide unemployment rate from 4.9 percent in January and down nearly 2 percentage points from 6.4 percent a year ago.
The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in February was 6.7 percent, up from 6.6 percent in January. Louisiana’s unemployment rate was eighth best in the country, and was the lowest among the 17 states of the southern region, where the average rate in February was 6.1 percent.
“More Louisianians are working and new job opportunities are emerging every day,” said Curt Eysink, executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission. “The benefits of this growth are being felt to varying degrees across our state.”
The number of employed statewide in February rose by 32,763 from a year earlier. Meanwhile, the number of unemployed people dropped by 38,612. The civilian labor force—defined as the total number of people in the workforce who are employed or unemployed—was 2,093,693 in February, an over-the-year decline of 5,849.
Seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment rose by 9,900 jobs over the year to 1,955,000, an all-time state record for the month of February. Private sector employers added 16,600 jobs during the 12 months that ended in February, while the number of federal, state and local government jobs shrank by 6,700. Private sector employment has grown over the year since October 2010.
Just as it did in January, the leisure and hospitality industry led all employment sectors with 10,700 jobs added over the year. Other gainers included education and health services with 6,000 jobs added, and financial activities with 2,200.
Sectors that lost the most jobs over the year were government, down 6,700; information, down 4,800; and professional and business services, down 1,600.
The BLS today also released statewide not seasonally adjusted data about the civilian labor force and total nonfarm employment.
The statewide not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in February was 4.2 percent, down nearly a percentage point from January and an improvement of 2.0 percentage points from a year ago.
Louisiana’s not seasonally adjusted civilian labor force was 2,064,435 in February. The number of people employed rose over the year by 37,097, to 1,977,373. The number of unemployed people dropped by 40,303 over the year to 87,062 in February.
Not seasonally adjusted unemployment rates improved in all 64 parishes as well as in all eight metro areas as follows:
Alexandria: 4.3 percent, down from 6.2 percent in February 2013;
Baton Rouge: 3.9 percent, down from 5.9 percent;
Houma-Thibodaux: 2.8 percent, down from 4.2 percent;
Lafayette: 3.1 percent, down from 4.5 percent;
Lake Charles: 3.8 percent, down from 5.5 percent;
Monroe: 4.6 percent, down from 6.7 percent;
New Orleans: 4.2 percent, down from 6.1 percent;
Shreveport: 4.6 percent, down from 6.8 percent.
Louisiana’s not seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment was 1,950,500 in February, an increase of 14,800 from a year earlier and an increase of 11,500 from January. Total private sector employment was 1,611,900, an increase of 21,300 over the year and an increase of 7,200, from the prior month.
Not seasonally adjusted data are useful for comparing trends in parishes and metropolitan statistical areas, and for comparing them to the state. Seasonally adjusted data, on the other hand, are useful for comparisons among states and the nation.
Employers looking for workers should visit Louisiana’s employment homepage at www.laworks.net and create a HiRE account, which will provide access to qualified job seekers. Individuals looking for jobs in high-value careers should use Louisiana Star Jobs, the LWC’s free career exploration and job search tool, at www.laworks.net/stars.
A mobile version of Louisiana Star Jobs is also available at m.laworks.net.
To view all available employment data, visit Louisiana’s employment homepage at www.laworks.net and select Labor Market Information from the top right-hand menu. Then select Monthly Employment Bulletin – Workforce At A Glance or Monthly Employment Statistics Press Release for the latest monthly nonfarm and labor force data.
To view the BLS nonfarm estimates for the state, click here: http://data.bls.gov/pdq/querytool.jsp?survey=la.
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