Date:March 17, 2015
Contact:Media Relations @ (225) 342-3035

Louisiana Workforce Rises to New Heights
State continues to set records, shows even more growth with revised federal numbers

BATON ROUGE – New seasonally adjusted federal data for 2014 shows Louisiana added more jobs and its workforce grew even more than previously estimated, and that the growth continued in January.

The new data shows the average total number of seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs in 2014 was actually 7,300 more than the earlier estimates. That means Louisiana actually added 27,500 total nonfarm jobs over the year. The new data shows the private sector grew by an annual average of 13,000 more jobs than previously estimated in 2014. That means private sector employers actually added 40,600 jobs from December 2013 through Dec. 2014.

The seasonally adjusted civilian labor force in Louisiana increased by an annual average of 27,133 more people than estimated earlier, to a December total of 2,200,512 people, the new data show. The number of people in the labor force who were working in 2014 grew by an annual average of 6,605 more people than estimated earlier.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics made the adjustments as part of its standard annual benchmarking process of replacing survey data used to prepare monthly bulletins on nonfarm jobs, the labor force and unemployment rates with actual employment data once that data is collected and analyzed.

The job growth continued into January 2015, when seasonally adjusted data show Louisiana’s private sector employers added 30,300 jobs over the January 2014 number, for a new total of 1,663,200 private sector jobs. That’s the highest January total on record.

The January growth was offset somewhat by a continuing decline in government jobs for a seasonally adjusted net gain of 24,700 jobs over the year. “The benchmarked federal data validates the trends shown in the earlier estimates, that Louisiana employers added jobs at a strong clip and that the labor force also grew at a strong clip, probably as a response to the stronger jobs market,” said Curt Eysink, executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission. “The new data simply show those trends occurred at an even faster pace than estimated during the year.”

What the benchmarked data show

The growth in total labor force was driven by growth in both the number of people with jobs and the number who are not working but are actively looking for a job. The actual number of people in the labor force who were working grew by 50,481 people in 2014. The number who were not working grew by 41,761 people, according to the benchmarked data.

The ratio between the two resulted in an upward revision to Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in every month in 2014, to a high of 7.2 percent in both November and December.

“It seems counter-intuitive that our unemployment rate would increase at the same time as we’re adding jobs at a healthy rate and we’re setting employment records almost every month,” Eysink said. “Clearly, the unemployment rate is not driven by layoffs. Instead, it seems to be driven by people entering the workforce faster than they’re finding work.”

The benchmarked data set Louisiana records for the size of the workforce and the number of people employed in the workforce.

The benchmarked seasonally adjusted total private employment grew 40,600 over the year to a December total of 1,669,500. That’s the highest December-to-December jobs gain since the recovery period after Hurricane Katrina.

The benchmarked 2014 seasonally adjusted annual average number of jobs in construction was 8,400 higher than the 2013 average. This is the fourth consecutive year of annual increases, and the sector gained jobs over the year for 36 consecutive months.

The benchmarked 2014 seasonally adjusted annual average number of manufacturing jobs was 1,600 more jobs than the pre-benchmarked figure. The series has gained jobs on an annual average basis for four consecutive years and is at its highest level since 2008. The December total employment in manufacturing was 148,700.

Seasonally adjusted January 2015 data sets more records

Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted civilian labor force grew to a record 2,203,120 people in January — including a record number of people employed in the labor force — while the state’s unemployment rate improved from the benchmarked December figure of 7.2 percent to 7.0 percent in January. That rate is 1.5 percentage points higher than in January 2014.

The number of people employed in the civilian labor force grew to a record 2,049,468 in January, up 8,316 from the December benchmarked figure, according to seasonally adjusted data. The number of unemployed people in Louisiana declined 5,708 over the month, which contributed to the 0.2 percentage point improvement from the December unemployment rate.

Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted civilian labor force in January was 92,315 greater than in January 2014. This includes the addition of 53,765 people with jobs, and 38,550 people who were looking for work, according to a monthly BLS survey of approximately 750 Louisiana households.

The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in January was 5.7 percent, a 0.9 percentage point improvement over the year. The southern regional average unemployment rate in January was 5.5 percent.

Seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment grew in Louisiana in most sectors through January, according to a separate BLS survey of approximately 7,000 employers across industries and across the state. January nonfarm employment totaled 1,989,100 jobs, an increase over the year of 24,700 jobs.

BLS Revises Metropolitan Statistical Areas

January BLS data is compiled based on a new alignment of parishes into rural areas and Metropolitan Statistical Areas, changes made once per decade based on population shifts reported by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The changes include:

• The Hammond area has been added as Louisiana’s 9th MSA. The BLS will provide not seasonally adjusted data for the Hammond area as well as the existing MSAs: Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Houma, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe, New Orleans, and Shreveport.

• The parish composition of four of BLS metro areas has changed as follows:

• Hammond: The newest metro area, it is made up solely of Tangipahoa Parish.

• Lafayette: Acadia, Iberia, and Vermillion Parishes were added to Lafayette and St. Martin Parishes.

• New Orleans: St. James Parish has been added to Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, and St. Tammany Parishes.

• Shreveport: Webster Parish has been added to Bossier, Caddo, and DeSoto Parishes.

• The following metropolitan statistical areas are unchanged:

• Alexandria: Grant and Rapides Parishes.

• Baton Rouge: Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana Parishes.

• Houma: Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes.

• Lake Charles: Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes.

• Monroe: Ouachita and Union Parishes.

• In 2015, the BLS will not provide seasonally adjusted data for the Lafayette, Shreveport, or Hammond metro areas because of the significant changes in their parish composition and total employment. BLS plans to review those metro areas in 2016 to consider resuming estimates of their seasonally adjusted data.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Data

The information released from the BLS today also includes not seasonally adjusted data for January 2015. Louisiana’s not seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment was 1,970,600, an increase over the year of 24,400 jobs. The total private sector employment figure rose by 30,300 jobs over the year through January.

The employment sector that added the most jobs over the year was trade, transportation, and utilities, which was up 8,200 from January 2014. Other leading sectors were leisure and hospitality, which added 7,000 jobs; education and health services, which added 6,300; construction, which was up 3,600 jobs; and manufacturing, which added 2,500 jobs.

Government had the biggest decline, losing 5,900 jobs over the year, including 4,300 state jobs. Mining and logging was down 2,400 jobs over the year. BLS data indicates the oil and gas drilling subsector accounts for almost half of the loss in the mining category.

January’s preliminary not seasonally adjusted data show Louisiana’s civilian labor force was 2,173,037, an increase of 93,086 over the year. Much of that increase resulted from the addition of 63,306 people employed in the labor force, while another 29,780 unemployed individuals joined the labor force over the year, not seasonally adjusted data show.

Louisiana’s preliminary not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.0 percent in January 2015, 1.1 points higher than a year earlier, and a 0.5 percentage point increase over the month. The national not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in January was 6.1 percent, a 0.9 percentage point decline over the year and a 0.7 percentage point increase from December.

All nine metro areas had over-the-year increases in preliminary not seasonally adjusted unemployment rates as follows:

• Alexandria: 7.4 percent, up from 6.0 percent in January 2014.

• Baton Rouge: 6.3 percent, up from 5.4 percent.

• Hammond: 8.0 percent, up from 7.0 percent.

• Houma: 5.5 percent, up from 4.3 percent.

• Lafayette: 6.1 percent, up from 4.9 percent.

• Lake Charles: 6.2 percent, up from 5.5 percent.

• Monroe: 7.7 percent, up from 6.4 percent.

• New Orleans: 6.9 percent, up from 5.8 percent.

• Shreveport: 7.6 percent, up from 6.6 percent.

The LWC will release seasonally adjusted employment data for February on March 27. Metro area and not seasonally adjusted data for February will be released on March 31.

Job seekers can explore careers, apply for the highest rated jobs and connect with local training providers on the LWC’s free career tool, Louisiana Star Jobs, at A mobile version is also available at

Employers looking for workers should visit Louisiana’s employment homepage at and create a HiRE account, which will provide access to qualified job seekers.

Job seekers have a new LWC online tool to help with career planning. “My Life. My Way.” estimates living costs around the state and connects users to occupations that afford their desired way of life. Visit “My Life. My Way.” at

To view all available employment data, visit Louisiana’s employment homepage at and select Labor Market Information from the top-right 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:

Connect with the Louisiana Workforce Commission socially at, and

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