Date:March 25, 2009
Contact:Public Relations @ (225) 342-3035

Nonfarm Jobs Increase to Highest February Level in State

BATON ROUGE – The number of Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs in February grew by 6,200 over the past year and by 800 since January, the Louisiana Workforce Commission announced today.

The growth in jobs brings the February total to 1,942,400, the highest February level ever in Louisiana. The new data also show that every metropolitan statistical area in the state gained jobs from January to February. The growth was led by the Baton Rouge and Monroe MSA’s, which gained 4,100 and 1,600 jobs, respectively.

Nonfarm jobs statistics are estimated from an employer-based sample survey by place of work, while the civilian labor force statistics – which produces the number of people employed and unemployed – are estimated from a residence-based sample survey of individuals living in Louisiana.

These data show the employment trend in Louisiana continues to run in the opposite direction from the trend nationally, where the number of nonfarm jobs “continued to fall sharply,” according to federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“It is very clear that Louisiana employers are still hiring and that our state has opportunities for our citizens,” LWC Executive Director Tim Barfield said.

Louisiana’s unemployment rate for February was 5.7 percent, up from the January revised rate of 5.1 percent but still well below the national unemployment rate of 8.1 percent. The national rate was up from 7.6 percent in January.

Louisiana’s civilian labor force for February is the highest February level in the history of the state, which gives employers a larger labor pool to draw from. The number of employed in the labor force in February was 1,965,731, down from 1,984,060 in January. The number of unemployed in Louisiana in February 2009 rose to 119,473 from 106,908 in January.

“The increase in jobs and the increase in people looking for work tell us what our challenge is. We need to always be focused on connecting job seekers with available opportunities and helping job seekers overcome their barriers to employment,” Barfield said.

Unadjusted unemployment rates are used to compare parishes and metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) to the state. The February 2009 unadjusted unemployment rate for Louisiana was 5.5 percent, down from the revised January rate of 5.7 percent. Unadjusted unemployment rates held steady or improved from January in every MSA. Lafourche Parish had the lowest unemployment rate of 3.4 percent in February 2009 while West Carroll Parish had the highest unemployment rate at 16.0 percent. Please see page three for the MSA rates.

Preliminary seasonally adjusted statewide total nonfarm employment for February 2009 was 1,942,400 compared to 1,941,600 for the revised January 2009 figure, an increase of 800 jobs over the month. The sector breakdown was as follows: mining and logging (formerly natural resources and mining), 54,900 employed in February 2009, down from 55,200 in January; construction, 143,900, up from 141,000; manufacturing, 148,900, down from 149,200; trade, transportation, and utilities, 379,700, up from 379,100; information, 27,200, up 300 from the previous month; financial activities, 92,500, down from 94,200; professional and business services, 205,500, up from 203,900; education and health services, 258,100, up from 257,500; leisure and hospitality, 199,000, down from 200,200; other services, 69,500, up from 68,800; and government, 363,200, down 2,400 from last month.

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

For more detailed information on February 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.