BATON ROUGE – Louisiana’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 4.0 percent in February. From January, this figure is down 0.4 percentage points. Compared to this time last year, this figure is down 1.4 percent. As reported last week, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped 0.1 percent to 4.5 percent. Compared to February 2017, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is down 1.2 percent. This decline represents the second largest over-the-year drop in the nation.
Not-seasonally adjusted data are useful for comparing trends in parishes and metropolitan statistical areas, and for comparing them to the state. Notably, every metropolitan statistical area (MSA) unemployment rate declined in February, with Hammond and Alexandria declining 0.6 percentage points over the month. The Houma MSA unemployment rate declined 0.5 percentage points from January. From February 2017, Houma’s MSA is down 2.1 percent.
From January 2018, not seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment increased by 14,800 jobs. Not seasonally adjusted private sector employment gained 1,100 jobs from February 2017. From January 2018, private sector employment increased by 10,400 jobs. Private sector employment is defined as nonfarm employment minus government jobs. Although not seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment decreased by 1,600 jobs from February 2017, these losses follow national trends with losses primarily in retail trade. The Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) continues to provide training and placement services in growth sectors such as health care.
When looking at the number of not seasonally adjusted employed individuals, Louisiana saw an increase of 62,782 from February 2017. From January 2018, the number of not seasonally adjusted employed individuals increased by 24,780. The number of not seasonally adjusted unemployed individuals saw a decrease of 26,721 when comparing figures from February 2017. From January 2018, the number of not seasonally adjusted unemployed individuals decreased by 8,181.
The not seasonally adjusted civilian labor force, or the number of individuals who are employed in addition to those looking for work, increased by 36,061 from February 2017. From January 2018, the not seasonally adjusted civilian labor force increased by 16,599.
“There are thousands of jobs available within our online Helping Individuals Reach Employment (HiRE) system,” said LWC Executive Director Ava Dejoie. “I encourage everyone who is looking for a job to visit our HiRE website and apply, or visit one of the local offices located throughout the state. We will continue to work with employers and industry partners to ensure their talent needs are met. We also continue to invest in re-training and skill development of every job-seeker. Our job is not finished until every one of those jobs are filled, and every Louisiana resident is able to contribute to the state economy in a family-sustaining career.”
All nine metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) saw a decrease from January 2018 and from February 2017. Not-seasonally adjusted February unemployment rates for the nine MSAs are as follows:
• Alexandria: 4.4 percent, down from 5.0 percent in January and down from 6.1 percent in February 2017.
• Baton Rouge: 3.5 percent, down from 3.9 percent in January and down from 4.6 percent in February 2017.
• Hammond: 4.3 percent, down from 4.9 percent in January and down from 5.8 percent in February 2017.
• Houma: 4.1 percent, down from 4.6 percent in January and down from 6.2 percent in February 2017.
• Lafayette: 4.2 percent, down from 4.6 percent in January and down from 6.2 percent in February 2017.
• Lake Charles: 3.1 percent, down from 3.5 percent in January and down from 4.2 percent in February 2017.
• Monroe: 4.3 percent, down from 4.7 percent in January and down from 5.7 percent in February 2017.
• New Orleans: 3.8 percent, down from 4.1 percent in January and down from 4.8 percent in February 2017.
• Shreveport: 4.3 percent, down from 4.6 percent in January and down from 5.7 percent in February 2017.
As reported last week, Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted figures showed strong signs of continued improvement.
• Louisiana added 2,800 non-farm jobs in February. This makes it the third straight month, and four of the last five months that Louisiana has added jobs.
• Louisiana’s private sector also added 2,800 jobs in February. Private sector employment has added jobs in four out of the last five months.
• The Louisiana labor participation rate, the percentage of people either working or looking for work increased by 0.2 percentage points from January to 59.2 percent.
• The number of people unemployed in Louisiana dropped by 1,469 from January and by 24,595 year over year. This is the lowest number of unemployed in Louisiana since May of 2008
Seasonally Adjusted vs. Not-Seasonally Adjusted Data
Jobs and employment trends data is often difficult to understand because two different ways to look at the data, seasonally or non-seasonally adjusted data.
Seasonally adjustment works to measure and remove the influences of predictable seasonal patterns to reveal how employment and unemployment change from month to month. Not seasonally adjusted data retains seasonal employment trends.
Over the course of a year, the labor force size, jobs available and employment rates undergo predictable fluctuations due to seasonal changes in weather, harvests, major holidays, and school schedules. Seasonal adjustment reduces the impact of these changes making it easier understand trends. Seasonally adjusted data is best utilized when comparing several months of employment and jobs data, while not seasonally adjusted data is best used to compare over-the-year trends. Seasonally adjusted data are useful for comparisons among states and the nation.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission primarily uses seasonally adjusted data because it provides a more useful and telling picture of Louisiana’s jobs and employment situation.
To view all available employment data, visit Louisiana’s employment homepage at http://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 Data Trends. 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 http://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.
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.
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