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BATON ROUGE – Employment in education and health services grew by 2,400 jobs in December 2015 to the highest level since the current employment tracking system began in 1990, while Louisiana’s unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent, according to seasonally-adjusted data released today by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The data also show the decline in oil and gas employment slowed in December as Louisiana lost only 100 jobs in the mining and logging sector, which includes oil and gas. However, over the year, the state lost 9,900 jobs as oil prices slumped sharply and companies cut back on operations. Mining and logging sector employment remains at the lowest level since the BLS tracking system began in 1990.
Education and health services added 10,100 jobs over the year with 311,600 jobs in these fields. The sector has shown over-the-year gains every month since October 2006.
“The growth of jobs in the health care and education fields is helping Louisiana to weather the drop in oil prices,” said Louisiana Workforce Commission Executive Director Ava Dejoie. “While oil prices are still low and it’s too soon to say when we may see an upturn in employment, the growth of family-sustaining jobs in health care and education is an encouraging sign for Louisiana,” Dejoie said.
The state’s unemployment rate for December, 6.1 percent, was down from 7.2 percent in December 2014. The total civilian labor force for the month was estimated at 2,133,630, down about 9,100 from November and more than 66,000 over the year. Among the state’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), New Orleans gained 2,000 jobs during December while Baton Rouge continued its string of monthly gains, adding 200 jobs.
The BLS has begun its annual process of benchmarking, which involves the comparison of employment estimates released for the year against data received from employers’ quarterly reports. Revisions of data for 2015 are possible as a result of this process. Because of benchmarking, unemployment data for January 2016 and February 2016 will be released in March.
Among job sectors in Louisiana, December’s seasonally-adjusted highlights included:
• Construction showed no change for the month with employment estimated at 147,700. Over the year, the sector gained 6,000 jobs.
• Manufacturing employment fell by 1,500 jobs in December and is down by 4,400 jobs over the year. Low oil prices may be a factor in the decline.
• Trade, transportation and utilities employment fell 1,600 jobs during the month. The sector lost 12,600 jobs over the year, including 8,400 in the retail trade subsector.
• The financial activities sector showed no change during December with employment estimated at 91,600. The sector lost 1,200 jobs over the year.
• Professional and business services lost 1,100 jobs in December. However, the sector is up 2,800 jobs over the year.
• Leisure and hospitality employment lost 1,300 jobs in December but is up 400 jobs over the year.
• Government employment showed no change in December with 321,100 people working in state, federal and local jobs. The sector has lost 6,000 jobs over the year. State government employment was estimated at 82,600, down 4,700 jobs over the year. Local government employment rose 100 jobs in December but is down 1,600 jobs over the year.
Among Louisiana’s nine MSAs, seasonally-adjusted nonfarm job totals for December included:
• Alexandria: Up 100 jobs for the month and a loss of 1,000 jobs over the year. December employment was estimated at 63,100 jobs.
• Baton Rouge: Up 200 jobs in December with a total of 407,900 jobs. The MSA has gained 8,800 jobs over the year.
• Houma: Down 400 jobs in December and down 3,700 jobs over the year. Total employment was estimated at 98,000.
• Lake Charles: Down 300 jobs for the month but up 2,300 over the year. Total December employment was estimated at 103,600.
• Monroe: Unchanged in December with total employment estimated at 77,400. The area lost 1,200 jobs over the year.
• New Orleans: Up 2,000 jobs in December with estimated employment of 564,000. The MSA lost 900 jobs over the year.
The BLS is not providing seasonally-adjusted data for the Hammond, Lafayette and Shreveport MSAs because of significant changes in the MSA composition.
Not-seasonally-adjusted data for these MSAs show:
• Hammond: Down 200 jobs for the month and a loss of 300 jobs over the year. December employment was estimated at 44,800 jobs.
• Lafayette: Down 700 jobs over the month and 5,500 jobs over the year. Total nonfarm employment was estimated at 217,400 jobs.
• Shreveport: Down 1,000 jobs over the month and 3,000 jobs over the year. Total employment was estimated at 181,500.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission will release December civilian labor force data for the nine MSAs and Louisiana’s 64 parishes on Feb. 2.
Seasonally-adjusted data are useful for comparisons among the 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 homepage at 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.
About the Louisiana Workforce Commission
The Louisiana Workforce Commission is an agency of state government that administers programs designed to enhance workforce growth and provide family-sustaining jobs for Louisiana residents. The commission monitors employment, administers unemployment compensation and tax funds, provides training resources for employers and employees and oversees worker compensation benefits. The agency also gathers and supplies information on the labor market and occupational sectors in Louisiana. Connect with the Louisiana Workforce Commission on social media at http://www.facebook.com/louisianaworks, http://twitter.com/louisianaworks and https://www.linkedin.com/company/louisiana-workforce-commission.
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