News
Date:December 18, 2015
Contact:LWC Public Affairs @ (225) 342-3035

Construction employment hits 25-year high in La. with 146,600 people at work
State’s unemployment rate at 6.3 percent in November as oil, gas prices remain low

BATON ROUGE – Employment in the Louisiana construction industry during November reached its highest level in a quarter-century of record-keeping, according to seasonally-adjusted data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The data show that 146,600 people worked in construction in November, an increase of 2,000 over October and 4,100 over the year. It was the highest level of employment in construction since the current BLS tracking series began in 1990.

Also buoying the workforce report was the education and health services sector, which gained 500 jobs during November and is up 7,700 over the year. The sector has shown over-the-year growth for nine consecutive years. The November jobs total – 308,600 – was the highest November total since the BLS tracking series began in 1990.

The state’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for November was 6.3 percent, down 0.9 percent over the year.

Louisiana’s petroleum industry continued to slump as oil prices remained low. The mining and logging sector, which includes oil and gas businesses, lost 1,200 jobs in November. Over the year, the sector has lost 10,100 jobs – a drop of nearly 20 percent. Employment in oil and gas in Louisiana is at the lowest level since the BLS began its current tracking series in 1990.

“Diversification of Louisiana’s economy is helping our state weather the cyclical impact of oil and gas prices, which have been at low levels for more than a year,” said Louisiana Workforce Commission Executive Director Curt Eysink.

The total seasonally-adjusted civilian labor force in November was estimated at 2.14 million people, down about 10,000 from October and about 52,500 over the year.

“Although we have job losses related to oil prices, we still have thousands of jobs available in other sectors,” Eysink said. “Louisiana must continue to focus on matching education and training to all of the jobs our state has available. Our efforts will pay off by putting more people to work in good-paying jobs,” he said.

Other sectors that showed seasonally-adjusted positive growth in November included:

• Leisure and hospitality, up 300 jobs from October and 4,500 from November 2014.

• Government, up 100 jobs for the month but down 6,000 over the year. State employment of 82,900 was 4,800 jobs lower than in November 2014. Local government lost 100 jobs for the month and 1,600 over the year. Federal employment was up 200 for the month and 400 over the year.

• Information, up 600 jobs in November but down 2,800 over the year.

• Other services, up 400 jobs for the month but down 500 over the year.

Sectors that showed job losses in November, in addition to mining and logging, included:

• Manufacturing, down 1,400 jobs from October and 2,600 jobs over the year.

• Professional and business services, down 1,200 for the month but up 4,300 over the year.

• Financial activities, down 300 jobs in November and 900 over the year.

The trade, transportation and utilities sector was unchanged in November but down 9,000 jobs over the year.

Among the state’s nine Metropolitan Statistica Areas (MSAs), Baton Rouge continued to lead in seasonally-adjusted job growth with 700 jobs added in November and 9,000 over the year. Total employment was estimated at 408,400. The rapid rise in employment in the Lake Charles area paused in November as the area lost 500 jobs. With an estimated 104,000 people working in November, the MSA is still up 3,900 over the year.

Among other seasonally-adjusted MSA job totals in November:

• Alexandria employment was flat with an estimated total employment of 63,000 in the month, down 800 over the year.

• Houma lost 800 jobs with total employment of 98,400 during November, down 2,800 jobs over the year. The oil-sensitive area has shown six consecutive months of over-the-month job losses. The MSA has lost jobs over the year for 11 consecutive months after 39 consecutive months of job gains.

• Monroe dropped 300 jobs in November to 77,400, a loss of 1,000 jobs over the year.

• New Orleans showed the largest drop by MSA in November, losing 2,900 jobs from October and 1,800 over the year. In November, total employment was estimated at 562,200.

In 2015, the BLS is not providing seasonally-adjusted data for the Lafayette, Hammond and Shreveport MSAs because of significant changes in their parish populations. BLS plans to review those metro areas in 2016 to consider resuming seasonally-adjusted estimates.

The not-seasonally-adjusted data for those areas in November show:

• The Hammond area added 300 jobs in the month with an estimated 45,000 people working. The total was unchanged over the year.

• Lafayette, also in oil and gas-sensitive coastal Louisiana, added 100 jobs in November for a total of 218,200. Still, Lafayette has lost 5,100 jobs over the year.

• Shreveport gained 500 jobs for a total of 182,500 in November. The area lost 2,000 jobs over the year.

The Louisiana Workforce Commission will release November unemployment percentages for the nine MSAs and the 64 parishes on Dec. 30.

Seasonally-adjusted data are useful for comparisons among states and the nation. Not-seasonally-adjusted data are useful for comparing trends in parishes and MSAs, and for comparing them to the state.

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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