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Wednesday, June 19, 2019



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Louisiana’s unemployment rate and number of employed at series low

Louisiana’s unemployment rate and number of employed at series low


BATON ROUGE – Data released last week by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) for April 2019 showed that Louisiana’s unemployment rate decreased to 3.5 percent – down from the March 2019 revised rate of 3.8 percent. This is the lowest not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Louisiana in series history.

But figures show the Houma-Thibodaux area still lost 2,700 jobs over the 12 months ending April 30, more than any Louisiana metro area.

“This shows seven consecutive over-the-year losses,” the report, released Friday by the Louisiana Workforce Commission, says.

The area, comprised of Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes, lost 300 jobs last month alone.

The figures reflect the continuing impact of a Gulf of Mexico oil bust that started in mid-2014. Since then, the area has lost roughly 16,000 jobs — nearly one of every five — after low crude prices sparked layoffs and work slowdowns throughout the offshore oil-based economy.

The U.S. industry has rebounded along with oil prices, but job growth has been limited mostly to inland shale fields, where drilling is quicker and less costly than the deep waters of the Gulf.

Economists and analysts say that is beginning to change as companies drive down the break-even cost of Gulf drilling and oil prices have risen.

Houma-Thibodaux posted a 3.4% unemployment rate last month, down from 3.8% in March and 4.6% in April 2018. The year-to-year rate dropped because the area’s workforce, defined as a combination of people working or looking for jobs, has shrunk.

Louisiana posted a 4.5% unemployment rate a year ago.

The U.S jobless rate of 3.3% in April was down from 3.9% a month ago and 3.7% a year ago.

Last month, the state’s labor force totaled 85,037, down about 600 for the month and more than 3,600 people compared to April 2018. The figure is down from 107,577 in August 2014, a 21% decline. Since the oil bust began, one of every five people in the labor force has left Terrebonne and Lafourche, gone back to school or otherwise stopped looking for work.

Unemployment rates for the nine Metropolitan Statistical Areas are as follows:

• Alexandria: 3.7 percent, down from 4.2 percent in March 2019 and down from 4.8 percent from April 2018.

• Baton Rouge: 3.1 percent, down from 3.4 percent in March 2019 and down from 4.0 percent from April 2018.

• Hammond: 3.9 percent, down from 4.3 percent in March 2019 and down from 5.0 percent from April 2018.

• Houma: 3.4 percent, down from 3.8 percent in March 2019 and down from 4.6 percent from April 2018.

• Lafayette: 3.4 percent, down from 3.8 percent in March 2019 and down from 4.6 percent from April 2018.

• Lake Charles: 2.8 percent, down from 3.1 percent in March 2019 and down from 3.5 percent from April 2018.

• Monroe: 4.0 percent, down from 4.4 percent in March 2019 and down from 4.8 percent from April 2018.

• New Orleans: 3.2 percent, down from 3.6 percent in March 2019 and down from 4.2 percent from March 2018.

• Shreveport: 3.8 percent, down from 4.1 percent in March 2019 and down from 4.8 percent from April 2018.