Acadiana continued to show strong job gains in September with a number of the increases coming in the goods-producing and service-providing sectors, according to a non-seasonally adjusted monthly jobs report released Wednesday by the Louisiana Workforce Commission.
Lafayette gained 4,400 jobs, a 3 percent increase from a year ago. This is part of an ongoing trend for Acadiana. The Lafayette metro region has been growing jobs throughout most of the last nine months when compared against the same time in 2010. Only in May did Lafayette post a minor 100-job loss when compared to May 2010.
This is in sharp contrast to Baton Rouge’s jobs picture. Baton Rouge posted a loss of 800 jobs in September, compared to the same month last year. This is the continuation of a trend of jobs losses for the Capital Region, looking back at the last nine months when compared to the same period in 2010. Only in July did Baton Rouge post an increase of 500 jobs compared to the same month a year earlier.
Even though Baton Rouge had modest September job increases in the goods-producing and construction sectors, the Capital Region continues to be hobbled by losses in the government and service-providing sectors. The region shed 1,800 government jobs in the last year, according to labor statistics. Lafayette on the other hand picked up 200 government jobs in the last year.
The service-providing sector, which includes areas like wholesale and retail trade or transportation and warehousing, lost 2,900 jobs in Baton Rouge in the last year.
Other metro regions in south Louisiana followed Lafayette’s September lead.
New Orleans picked up the most number of jobs in the last year — 10,900 with a large number of those in the service-providing sectors. Lake Charles saw the largest percent increase in jobs in the last year, a 3.3 percent gain of 2,900.
Houma posted an over-the-year gain of 2,900 jobs, a 3.1 percent increase. The service-providing sector has given that region its strongest gains in the last year.
Alexandria reported picking up 1,400 jobs in September compared to the same period last year, an increase of 2.2 percent.
How much stock should be placed in these bullish job numbers is hard to say. In March, the workforce commission ceded the task of collecting the state’s job data to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This transition could result in some inaccurate data, officials said at the time. Loren Scott, a retired Louisiana economist who has been watching the state’s economy for four decades, has questioned the accuracy of the job numbers, particularly when viewed against other economic indicators like sales tax collections, gross domestic product reports or unemployment levels.
In August, Alexandria showed a 4 percent gain in jobs compared to a year earlier, a move Scott said mystified him.
“Now I love the people in Alexandria,” Scott said earlier this month in his unveiling of the 30th annual Louisiana Economic Outlook. “But looking at the data all the way back to 1970, Alexandria has never grown by 4 percent, even in the best economy.”
Farther north in Shreveport, the region gained 3,600 jobs in September, a 2 percent increase, much of it from the goods-producing and service-providing sectors.
Monroe was the other metro region to show a jobs decline, losing 400 jobs over the year.
Louisiana as a whole gained 41,300 jobs in September compared to the previous September, according to the state’s non-seasonally adjusted employment report.