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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

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Unemployment rates drop over the year in most Louisiana metro areas

Unemployment rates drop over the year in most Louisiana metro areas

Houma-Thibodaux down 2800 jobs over 12 months

BATON ROUGE – Unemployment rates dropped from October 2014 to October 2015 in Louisiana and seven out of the state’s nine metropolitan statistical areas, according to not-seasonally-adjusted data released recently by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The BLS report notes that Lake Charles showed the nation’s third best over-the-year percentage increase in jobs among the nation’s MSAs thanks to billions of dollars of industrial projects that are under construction.

“The construction boom in the Southwest coupled with the continued growth of jobs in the hospitality sector are the bright spots in our state’s jobs picture this fall,” said LWC Executive Director Curt Eysink. “However, we continue to see low oil prices having a negative effect on jobs in the Lafayette, Houma and Shreveport areas.”

The Lafayette and Houma-Thibodaux MSAs were the only two with over-the-year unemployment rate increases as they have taken the brunt of the impact of the low price of oil.

According to the BLS report, oil-sensitive Lafayette led the nation’s MSAs in its over-the-year decline in jobs with a loss of 4,300. Houma showed the nation’s third-largest percent decrease of jobs with a decline of 2.7 percent, losing 2800 jobs over the 12 months ending Oct. 31, new state data show. The biggest job losses came in the oil and gas industry, the area’s biggest employer.

The local jobless rate was still lower than the state's 6.4 percent. The statewide rate was up from 6.2 percent in September but down from 6.8 percent in October 2014.

Lafourche's jobless rate in October was 5.6 percent, Terrebonne's was 6.4 percent.

According to data, 6,100 people held local jobs directly involved in oil and gas production in October. That's down 100 for the month and 1,000, or 14 percent, compared to a year ago. It's the 10th consecutive month with a year-to-year decline.

Data shows that 4,900 people held oilfield service jobs, excluding maritime, last month. That's down 100 for the month and 900, or 15 percent, for the year.

Also, about 6,100 people were unemployed and looking for work across Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes in October, the Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows. Just under 100,000 people held non-farm jobs that month.

In February 2014, Houma-Thibodaux posted the lowest jobless rate of any U.S. metro area at 2.8 percent. The area, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, now ranks 300th among the 387 metros.

“The decline in the number of people in the civilian labor force may be a result of the slowdown in the oil and gas industry,” Eysink said.