New labor department figures recently released show the Houma-Thibodaux area continues to lose jobs, having lost 200 last month and 1,200 since August 2016.
If the preliminary data from the Louisiana Workforce Commission hold until revised figures are released Friday, it would mark a second straight month of job losses across Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes.
It would also bring the estimated number of jobs lost since the bust began to just under 17,000.
Oil prices have slid to less than half their mid-2014 high of around $115 a barrel, sparking layoffs and work slowdowns throughout the oil industry. The U.S. industry has rebounded, but job growth has been limited mostly to inland shale fields, where drilling is less costly than the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Houma-Thibodaux has seen both monthly gains and losses since mid-2016, though overall, declines have outpaced growth. The area lost 1,800 jobs in January, gained 400 in February, lost 600 in March and gained 400 in April, 200 in May and 300 in June. The latest losses, combined with 300 in July, bring the total jobs lost so far this year to 1,600.
Louisiana lost 600 jobs last month in oil and gas exploration and 2,000 over the past year, the new figures show.
The state’s jobless rate in August, 5.2 percent, is its lowest since August 2008. It’s down by 0.1 percentage points for the month and 0.9 percentage points compared to a year ago.
“Louisiana’s job market has experienced notable improvement in the last year, with 24,200 nonfarm jobs gained since last August,” said Louisiana Workforce Commission Executive Director Ava Dejoie. “The addition of 3,400 jobs in the last month underscores a restoration of confidence among employers and job seekers.”
Employment in the leisure and hospitality category, which includes tourism, restaurants and hotels, is at an all-time high in the state, up 2,400 for the month and 7,600 for the year.
Other growth was seen in professional and business services, up 5,000 jobs for the year, and financial activities, up 1,400 since August 2016.
The latest report, based on federal data, does not include metro area unemployment rates or details about the categories of jobs lost or gained locally. That will be included in Friday’s revised report. Unlike the preliminary figures, next week’s will not be adjusted for seasonal variations.
Houma-Thibodaux posted a 5.7 percent unemployment rate in July, down from 6 percent in June and 7.2 percent a year ago.
The unemployment rate has declined because people are leaving the workforce altogether and are no longer counted as jobless. That includes people who have returned to school, left the area or given up on a job search.
Preliminary jobs figures for July for Louisiana's metro areas, adjusted for seasonal variations are as follows:
- Alexandria: down 400 jobs from July and 900 from August 2016.
- Baton Rouge: up 1,300 jobs for the month and 10,000 for the year.
- Houma-Thibodaux: down 200 jobs from July and 1,200 from August 2016.
- Lafayette: up 300 jobs for the month and 200 for the year.
- Lake Charles: up 600 jobs for the month and 6,400 for the year. Lake Charles has posted over-the-year increases 74 consecutive months, just over six years.
- Monroe: up 100 jobs for the month and 1,200 from August 2016.
- New Orleans: up 2,600 jobs for the month and 2,300 from August 2016.
- Shreveport: down 400 jobs for the month and 2,500 for the year.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report seasonally adjusted data for Hammond because it was designated a metro area only recently. Not accounting for seasonal variations, Hammond gained 600 jobs for the month and 700 over the year.
-- Sources: Louisiana Workforce Commission, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Posted on Tue, September 19, 2017
by The Lafourche Gazette