Date:April 24, 2009
Contact:Public Relations @ (225) 342-3035

Louisiana Nonfarm Jobs Continue to Outpace 2008 Levels, National Average

BATON ROUGE – Seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs in Louisiana increased by 4,600 from March 2008 to March 2009, bringing the total number of jobs in the state to 1,938,200, the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) announced today. The new total is the highest March nonfarm employment level on record.

Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March 2009 was 5.8 percent, up from the February 2009 revised rate of 5.7 percent and the year-ago figure of 4.2 percent. The March unemployment rate ranked Louisiana seventh lowest in the nation. The March 2009 unemployment rate for the United States was 8.5 percent, up from the February rate of 8.1 percent.

“It is very clear that Louisiana’s employment picture continues to outperform the rest of the country. Nonfarm job totals every month this year have outpaced the totals from a year ago. That is great news,” LWC Executive Director Tim Barfield said.

Louisiana’s civilian labor force – the number of people working or looking for work – for March was 2,070,901, down from the February revised figure of 2,085,337. The number of employed in March was 1,949,797, down from 1,965,882 in February. The number of unemployed in Louisiana in March 2009 rose to 121,104 from 119,455 in February. Civilian labor force statistics are estimated from a residential-based sample survey by place of residence.

Not seasonally adjusted March data show a gain of 4,300 jobs over the month and 6,600 jobs over the year. They also show job gains over the month in six of the state’s eight MSAs. The number of jobs held steady in Lake Charles, declined by 100 in Alexandria and grew by 700 in Shreveport, 300 in Monroe, 1,700 in New Orleans, 2,100 in Baton Rouge, 300 in Houma and 400 in Lafayette.

Preliminary seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment by sector for March 2009 was as follows: trade, transportation, and utilities, 381,600 employed in March 2009, up from 380,000 in February; information, 27,700, up 500 from the previous month; financial activities, 93,300, up from 92,700; professional and business services, 204,100, down from 206,400; education and health services, 259,100, up from 257,900; leisure and hospitality, 200,000, up from 198,800; other services, 68,900, down from 69,100; government, 364,700, up 100 over the month; mining and logging (formerly natural resources and mining), 53,400, down from 54,900; construction, 138,300, down from 143,800; and manufacturing, 147,100, down from 148,900.

“We’re doing well compared to the nation in many areas,” Barfield said. “We’re also very sensitive to the fact that Louisiana businesses and employees in certain sectors, particularly mining and logging, manufacturing and home construction, are feeling some effects of the national recession.”

Seasonally adjusted data also show a decrease of 6,100 jobs from February figure, mostly in goods-producing industries that mirror the current national job trend.

Nonfarm statistics are estimated from an employer-based sample survey by place of work. Seasonally adjusted data are used to compare states and to compare states to the nation. Not seasonally adjusted data are used to compare areas within the state to each other and to the state as a whole.

Louisiana’s unadjusted unemployment rate, comparable to MSAs and parishes, in March was 5.7 percent, up from the revised February rate of 5.5 percent. The comparable national unemployment rate increased to 9 percent in March, up from 8.9 percent in February.

Lafourche Parish had the lowest unemployment rate of 3.5 percent last month while West Carroll Parish had the highest rate at 15.3 percent. Please see page three for the MSA rates.

For more detailed information on March 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.