Louisiana's economy keeps creating jobs, but it can't keep up with the state's growing workforce.
The state's unemployment rate rose in December for the eighth straight month, to 6.7 percent from 6.5 percent in November. Louisiana now ties for the sixth-highest jobless rate among the states.
But at the same time, the state hit new all-time highs for jobs, as measured two different ways. People saying they had a job rose by 9,000 to nearly 2.05 million. A separate survey shows employer payrolls rose by 7,000 to 1.99 million.
The jobless rate rose, though, because the number of job seekers grew faster than the number of jobs.
The report counted 146,000 unemployed Louisianans in December, above 142,000 in November and 135,000 in December 2013.
Both sets of figures — adjusted to cancel out seasonal changes — were released Tuesday by the U.S. Labor Department.
"This growth, sustained over many months, represents thousands more opportunities for people in Louisiana," Louisiana Workforce Commission Executive Director Curt Eysink said in a written statement. "We're adding jobs at a strong pace, and our labor force is growing to match that increasing demand."
Unemployment rates fell in 42 states in December, rose in four and were flat in four. North Dakota retained the nation's lowest jobless rate at 2.8 percent.
The national unemployment rate fell to 5.6 percent in December from 5.8 percent in November. It's down from 6.7 percent in December 2013.
The unemployment rate is calculated by a survey that asks how many people are looking for a job. A second survey each month asks employers how many people are on their payrolls, a measure many economists use as their top labor market indicator.
Louisiana payrolls rose by 7,000 in December to 1.99 million. That's an all-time high and nearly 30,000 above December 2013's level. Louisiana payrolls have risen 6.3 percent since bottoming out in early 2010 and are 2.7 percent above pre-recession levels.
Payroll employment rose in December in economic sectors including trade, transportation and utilities; leisure and hospitality; professional and business services; financial activities; manufacturing and government. Louisiana payrolls fell in December in education and health services and construction.
The broadest measure of those who are unemployed averaged 11 percent in Louisiana from October 2013 through September 2014, the most recent figures released. That includes people looking for work only sporadically, who have given up looking or who work part time because they can't find a full-time job.
Nationwide, that broad measure averaged 12.6 percent during the same period.
Online: State employment report: http://1.usa.gov/104hKGL
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Posted on Fri, January 30, 2015
by Jeff Amy, Associated Press