Louisiana’s nonfarm employment grew by 33,100 jobs over the year ended Sept. 30, setting a record and nearing the 2 million mark.
Seasonally adjusted numbers released Tuesday by the Louisiana Workforce Commission showed nonfarm employment exceeded 1.98 million — 12,100 shy of 2 million.
“Thanks to consistent job growth that continues to set records, qualified workers have more job opportunities today than at any time in Louisiana’s history,” said Curt Eysink, LWC’s executive director.
Last week, LSU economists Loren C. Scott and James A. Richardson issued a two-year business forecast that included a prediction that “sometime in 2015, Louisiana will have more than 2 million nonfarm employees for the first time in its history.”
Richardson and Scott noted more than $103 billion in industrial development and expansion is either under construction or at the front-end engineering and design phase in Louisiana.
Eysink said Tuesday that the state’s construction sector added 11,000 jobs over the year ended Sept. 30, the most of any sector.
Leisure and hospitality was second, adding 9,500 jobs. Professional and business services added 9,200. Trade, transportation and utilities added 5,800.
The information sector lost 1,500 jobs, as did the mining and logging sector, which includes jobs in the oil and gas industry.
Government agencies lost 5,800 jobs in Louisiana. State government shrank by 4,100 jobs, and local government dropped 1,500 jobs.
Despite steady job growth, Louisiana’s unemployment rate increased for the fifth consecutive month and was 6.0 percent in September — 0.1 percent higher than the nation’s unemployment rate of 5.9 percent.
“The higher unemployment rate seems to be a result of people entering the workforce to look for jobs, primarily because we have jobs worth looking for,” Eysink said. “Nationally, the unemployment rate has dropped mainly because people are dropping out of the labor force.”
Barring a recession or dramatic decrease in the price of oil, Richardson and Scott predicted last week, Louisiana’s workforce should increase 66,700 by the end of 2016.