Louisiana loses 19,600 jobs over 12-month period through May; oil and gas industry hit hardest _lowres


Louisiana’s nonfarm employment fell by 19,600 jobs for the 12 months ending in May, as the state lost ground in seven of 11 economic sectors, with the biggest hit once again to the oil and gas industry.

The 1 percent decline dropped Louisiana to 1,979,800 jobs in May, according to preliminary numbers released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It was the 10th consecutive month the state posted a year-to-year drop in the number of jobs.

Over the same 12-month period, the U.S. added 38,000 jobs.

The state’s mining and logging sector, which includes oil and gas jobs, plunged by 8,600 jobs, or 18 percent. After 17 consecutive months of year-to-year drops, there are now 40,100 people working in the sector statewide.

Oil prices have fallen to less than $50 per barrel level, deterring drilling activity.

Other hard-hit job sectors in the state were manufacturing, which lost 8,100 jobs over the year; business and personal services, 4,200 jobs; and government, 2,900 jobs.

The figures were not adjusted for seasonal changes.

On the positive side, the state added 4,300 jobs in education and health services since May 2015 and there were 3,800 more construction jobs.

The state’s labor force — those with jobs or looking for work — dropped by 0.1 percent, or 2,952 people, to 2,165,536, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate was 6.3 percent, the same as in May 2015 and in April. About 135,700 residents were jobless in May. These figures are seasonally adjusted.

The Labor Department said the national unemployment rate is 4.7 percent, with 16 states significantly below that rate. Steady hiring has lowered unemployment throughout the U.S., but rates also have fallen for a bad reason: many of those out of work have stopped searching for jobs.