Date:March 11, 2009
Contact:Public Relations @ (225) 342-3035

Nonfarm Jobs a Mixed Bag in January

BATON ROUGE – Seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs in Louisiana grew by 4,800 workers between January 2008 and January 2009, bringing the total number of jobs in the state to 1,936,300, the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) announced today. The data also show the largest civilian labor force and nonfarm employment level ever for a January in Louisiana.

Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows Louisiana is the only state in the country where the unemployment rate decreased from December to January, to 5.1 percent from 5.5 percent. However, the new data also show a loss of 12,300 jobs and a decline in the labor force from December to January.

The January 2009 unemployment rate for the United States was 7.6 percent, up from the December 2008 rate of 7.2 percent.

“These numbers are a mix of good news along with additional reasons for caution. They validate that our employment picture has been significantly brighter than in the rest of the country for the past year at least, but they also validate that the persistence and depth of the national economic downturn is affecting Louisiana,” LWC Executive Director Barfield said.

“That effect is being felt most sharply in north Louisiana, where there have been significant layoffs, and in certain industries, such as pulp and paper, auto manufacturing, real estate and financial activities,” Barfield said.

Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted civilian labor force – the number of people working or looking for work – for January was 2,090,557, down from the December revised figure of 2,110,784, but increased by 42,323 from January 2008.

The number of employed in January was 1,983,470, down from 1,994,434 in December. The number of unemployed in Louisiana in January 2009 fell to 107,087 from 116,350 in December. Civilian labor force statistics are estimated from a residential-based sample survey by place of residence, while the nonfarm statistics are estimated from an employer-based survey by place of work. The nonfarm employment and civilian labor force numbers are based on surveys conducted during the second week of January.

Unadjusted unemployment rates are used to compare parishes and metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) to the state. The January 2009 unadjusted unemployment rate for Louisiana was 5.7 percent, up from the revised December 2008 rate of 5.6 percent. Lafourche Parish had the lowest unemployment rate of 3.6 percent in January 2009 while West Carroll Parish had the highest unemployment rate at 16.1 percent. Please see page three for the MSA rates.

Preliminary seasonally adjusted statewide total nonfarm employment for January 2009 was 1,936,300 compared to 1,948,600 for the revised December 2008 figure, a decrease of 12,300 jobs over the month. The sector breakdown was as follows: mining and logging (formerly natural resources and mining), 55,200 employed in January 2009, down from 56,200 in December 2008; construction, 139,300, up from 138,400; manufacturing, 149,400, down from 149,600; trade, transportation, and utilities, 378,900, down from 381,100; information, 26,900 down 300 from the previous month; financial activities, 94,100, down from 95,700; professional and business services, 202,800, down from 206,900; educational and health services, 257,200, down from 260,100; leisure and hospitality, 198,400, up from 198,000; other services, 68,700, up from 68,500; and government, 365,400, down 1,500 from last month.

Job losses were evident throughout the state in January as all eight MSAs posted nonfarm employment losses over the month; compared to a year ago, four MSAs posted losses while four posted gains.

For more detailed information on January 2009 employment data for Louisiana, visit our Web site at and select Labor Market Information from the left-side 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.

Note: This revision date does not reflect the revision date of the press release shown. Press Release postings are updated as needed and should be considered accurate as shown.