BATON ROUGE – Louisiana set a record in February for the number of people in the labor force who are employed, according to seasonally adjusted data released today by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, the state’s unemployment rate decreased for the second month in a row to 6.7 percent.
The state’s total civilian labor force, which includes the total number of people employed plus those looking for work, declined slightly over the month to 2,202,343, but was still up 87,900 over the year. The number of people employed in the civilian labor force grew to a record 2,054,017, seasonally adjusted data from a BLS survey of 750 households show. In February, 148,326 people were looking for work – 33,788 more than a year earlier, and 5,293 fewer than in January.
A separate BLS survey of 7,000 employers across industries and the state found that Louisiana’s private employers added 26,100 jobs over the year, making February the 53rd consecutive month in which private sector hiring in the state resulted in an over-the-year increase, according to seasonally adjusted data.
The February data also show that while nonfarm employment dropped slightly over the month, last month was the highest February on record at 1,988,300.
“The February data extends Louisiana’s trends of rapid labor force growth along with significant job growth,” said Louisiana Workforce Commission Executive Director Curt Eysink. “This is good news for both employers and job seekers.”
Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 6.7 percent in February, down from January and up 1.3 percentage points from a year earlier. The national unemployment rate in February was 5.5 percent, which was 0.2 percentage points lower than January and 1.2 percentage points lower than a year earlier. The 17-state south regional average rate in February was 5.4 percent.
Industries with the biggest seasonally adjusted over-the-year job gains were trade, transportation, and utilities, up 8,200; and leisure and hospitality, which added 6,700 jobs. Leisure and hospitality tied a record set in December at 225,000 jobs.
Meanwhile, government employment in February dropped 5,700 over the year. The decline was paced by a loss of 4,400 state jobs and 1,200 local government jobs, the seasonally adjusted data show. The only private sectors that lost jobs over the year were mining and logging, which was down 3,300; and professional and business services, which lost 2,600 jobs.
Seasonally adjusted data are useful for comparisons among states and the nation. Not seasonally adjusted data are useful for comparing trends in parishes and metropolitan statistical areas, and for comparing them to the state. The LWC will release not seasonally adjusted data for February for the state’s metropolitan areas and parishes on March 31. 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. BLS plans to review those metro areas in 2016 to consider resuming estimates of their seasonally adjusted data.
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 www.laworks.net/Stars.
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.
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 laworks.net/mylife.
To view all available employment data, visit Louisiana’s employment homepage at http://www.laworks.net 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 Local Area Unemployment Statistics for the state, visit http://data.bls.gov/pdq/querytool.jsp?survey=la. For BLS nonfarm employment data, click here: http://data.bls.gov/pdq/querytool.jsp?survey=sm.
Connect with the Louisiana Workforce Commission socially at facebook.com/louisianaworks, twitter.com/louisianaworks and linkedin.com/company/louisiana-workforce-commission.
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