Date:January 25, 2007
Contact:Ed Pratt @ (225) 219-0679

Unemployment Rate Drops in December

The Louisiana Department of Labor, in cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), continues to closely monitor the economic impact of the recent hurricanes on the business and household surveys in the affected parishes. In producing the post-hurricane estimates, BLS announced that a number of modifications were made to standard estimating procedures to better reflect the employment part of the civilian labor force estimates. For a detailed explanation of th e effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on all of the BLS program’s methodology, please go to

BATON ROUGE – The unemployment rate for December 2006 decreased to 4.3 percent from the November rate of 4.5 percent for Louisiana, and was well below the year-ago rate of 6.4 percent. The state’s rate was also below the national unemployment rate of 4.5 percent for December 2006. Louisiana’s civilian labor force for December 2006 increased to 1,876,096, from 1,874,034, in November. The number of employed in December was 1,796,136, an increase from 1,788,901 in November. The state’s unemployed for December decreased to 79,960, from 85,133 in November.

December’s nonfarm employment figures saw an increase of 4,000 jobs over the month and 59,400 jobs over the year. The leisure and hospitality industry added 1,700 jobs over the month; while the professional and business services sector, with a gain of 13,400, added the most workers annually.

“The December unemployment rate of 4.3 percent and the increase in nonfarm jobs reflected a strong economic picture for Louisiana as 2006 ended,” Louisiana Secretary of Labor John Warner Smith said. “The unemployment rate also declined in every metro area of the state in December showing that people are looking for work and finding jobs in Louisiana.”

Unadjusted unemployment rates compare parishes and metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) to the state. The December 2006 unadjusted unemployment rate for Louisiana was 3.8 percent, down from the November rate of 4.2 percent. The unemployment rates for the MSAs were: Alexandria, 3.4 percent, down from 3.7 percent in November; Baton Rouge, 3.4 down from 3.8; Houma, 2.6, down from 3.0; Lafayette, 2.5, down from 2.9; Lake Charles, 3.2, down from 3.7; Monroe, 3.7, down from 4.0; New Orleans, 4.4, down from 5.0; and Shreveport-Bossier City, 3.8, down from 4.1 percent last month. Lafayette Parish had the lowest unemployment rate at 2.5 percent in December, while East Carroll Parish had the highest rate at 8.6 percent.

Preliminary seasonally adjusted statewide total nonfarm employment for December 2006 was 1,798,300 compared to 1,794,300 for the revised November 2006 figure, for an increase of 4,000 workers. The sector breakdown was as follows: natural resources and mining, 48,900 employed in December, unchanged from November; construction, 112,500, up from 111,400; manufacturing, 147,200, down from 147,400; trade, transportation, and utilities, 365,800, down from 366,200; information, 28,500, up from 28,300; financial activities, 95,000, down from 95,100; professional and business services, 176,300, down from 176,400; educational and health services, 216,400, up from 216,000; leisure and hospitality, 180,100, up from 178,400; other services, 61,300, up from 61,100; and government, 366,300, up from 365,100.

For more detailed information on the December 2006 employment data for Louisiana, visit our Web site at, scroll over the tab at the top of the page for Labor Market Information, click on Publications & Reports, and select LMI Bulletin.

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