BATON ROUGE – Louisiana lost jobs in October and its unemployment rate rose slightly, while two industries – construction as well as education and health services – showed significant jobs growth, according to seasonally-adjusted data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Job losses were driven by the impact of low oil prices and a continued decline in government employment. There were 3,900 fewer private-sector jobs and 2,300 fewer government jobs in October.
The state’s unemployment rate in October rose to 6.2 percent from 6.0 percent in September, still lower than the 7 percent rate of October 2014. Louisiana’s civilian labor force lost 11,817 people overall, and 15,316 fewer people in the labor force were working.
Seasonally-adjusted data show the state has lost nearly 17 percent of its oil and gas jobs over the past year and that the mining and logging sector, which includes oil and gas, declined by 700 jobs over the month and 8,900 jobs since October 2014.
Total nonfarm employment in Louisiana was estimated at 1,982,700 in October 2015, a drop of 9,100 jobs over the year. The October number marked the end of a five-year run of over-the-year private employment increases in Louisiana.
“If low oil prices continue, then we can expect to see greater impact on the state’s workforce, especially in areas dependent on the oil industry,” said Curt Eysink, executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission.
Eysink said the uncertainty about oil and gas reinforces the urgency of a unified approach among business and education leaders to better prepare Louisianians for the jobs that are expected to be in demand in the coming years.
“Despite the losses we are seeing in oil and gas, employers are seeking to fill jobs across the state,” said Eysink. “We will continue to lead the efforts with our partners in industry and every level of education and training to ensure that we are preparing people to work in jobs that can make a positive difference in their lives and for our state.”
Construction was a bright spot in the Louisiana jobs report as the industry gained 2,200 jobs over the month, while education and health services added the most jobs over the 12-month period with an increase of 6,300. Professional and business services and leisure and hospitality added 5,800 and 4,700 jobs over the year, respectively.
Behind government, trade, transportation and utilities had the second largest over-the-month decline with 1,800 fewer jobs. Financial activities lost 1,700 jobs in October.
The Baton Rouge and Lake Charles areas continued their streaks of job growth. Baton Rouge has added 7,100 jobs since October 2014, a growth of nearly 2 percent. Lake Charles added 1,300 jobs last month, bringing the total 12-month job gain there to 4,600, an increase of 4.6 percent.
According to not-seasonally-adjusted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Lake Charles, where billions of dollars of industrial projects are under construction, showed the nation’s third best over-the-year percentage increase in jobs among Metropolitan Statistical Areas.
The same data show oil-sensitive Lafayette led the nation’s MSAs in its over-the-year decline in jobs with a loss of 4,300. Another oil patch MSA, Houma, showed the nation’s third largest percent decrease of jobs with a decline of 2.7 percent.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission will release October unemployment percentages for the nine MSAs and the 64 parishes on Dec. 7.
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. In 2015, the BLS will not provide seasonally-adjusted data for the Lafayette, Shreveport or Hammond metro areas because of significant changes in their parish composition. BLS plans to review those metro areas in 2016 to consider resuming seasonally-adjusted estimates.
To view all available employment data, visit Louisiana’s employment homage 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.
Resources for employers and job seekers
Job seekers can explore careers, apply for top-rated jobs and connect with local training providers using Louisiana Star Jobs, the LWC’s free career tool, at www.laworks.net/Stars. Employers looking for workers should visit Louisiana’s employment homepage at www.laworks.net. Click on HiRE (Helping Individuals Reach Employment) and create an account allowing access to qualified job seekers.
Job seekers can also use My Life. My Way to estimate living costs around Louisiana and to connect with occupations that afford their desired lifestyle. Visit My Life. My Way. at www.laworks.net/MyLife.
Connect with the Louisiana Workforce Commission on social media at www.Facebook.com/LouisianaWorks, www.Twitter.com/LouisianaWorks and www.LinkedIn.com/company/Louisiana-Workforce-Commission.
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