BATON ROUGE — Louisiana’s unemployment rate improved in all nine metro areas in February and both the number of people in the workforce and the number of people working have grown, according to not seasonally adjusted data released today by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The state’s civilian labor force grew by 79,227 over the year to 2,164,909 in February, according to the not seasonally adjusted data. The number of people employed in the labor force was 2,030,116, the highest February on record. The number of people unemployed but seeking work was 134,793, based on estimates from a BLS monthly survey of 750 Louisiana households.
A separate BLS survey of 7,000 employers across industries and the state found total nonfarm employment was 1,980,500 in February, not seasonally adjusted data show. That figure reflects an increase of 23,500 jobs over the year.
“The robust labor force growth in Louisiana is ideal for new jobs employers who have been adding jobs,” said LWC Executive Director Curt Eysink. “In addition, unemployment decreased throughout the state.”
Louisiana’s unemployed rate was 6.2 percent in February, up 0.9 percentage points from a year earlier but a decrease of 0.8 percentage points from January, not seasonally adjusted data show. The national rate in February was 5.8 percent, down from 7.0 percent over the year and a decrease of 0.3 percentage points from the previous month.
Not seasonally adjusted unemployment rates fell over the month in Louisiana’s nine metro areas as follows:
• Alexandria: 6.5 percent, down from 7.4 percent in January;
• Baton Rouge: 5.5 percent, down from 6.3 percent;
• Hammond: 7.1 percent, down from 8.0 percent;
• Houma, 5.0 percent, down from 5.5 percent;
• Lafayette: 5.7 percent, down from 6.0 percent;
• Lake Charles: 5.4 percent, down from 6.2 percent;
• Monroe: 6.8 percent, down from 7.7 percent;
• New Orleans: 6.1 percent, down from 6.9 percent;
• Shreveport: 6.8 percent, down from 7.6 percent.
Private employers added 29,700 jobs over the year, not seasonally adjusted data show. Leisure and hospitality had the largest over-the-year gain, with 8,100 new jobs. Other sectors with strong gains included trade, transportation, and utilities with 7,500 additional jobs over the year; education and health services, up 5,500 jobs; and information, up 2,900 jobs.
The government sector lost 6,200 jobs over the year, the most of any sector, including the loss of 4,400 state jobs and 1,800 local government jobs, according to not seasonally adjusted data. Other sectors with over-the-year declines were mining and logging, down 3,300, and professional and business services, down 800.
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, which we released Friday, 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 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.
Connect with the Louisiana Workforce Commission socially at facebook.com/louisianaworks, twitter.com/louisianaworks and linkedin.com/company/louisiana-workforce-commission.
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.
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