New Orleans and Shreveport showed the strongest job growth in May, accounting for more than half of the state’s total 19,000-job gain, according to a monthly report by the Louisiana Workforce Commission.
Shreveport and New Orleans gained 9,700 jobs in May between the two.
Meanwhile, the Baton Rouge metro area continues to slog along, as it shed 900 jobs in May compared to the same month last year. The service-providing sector shrank by 1,300, according to the report.
“The Baton Rouge MSA had more losses in the trade and transportation sector while this sector added workers in New Orleans and Shreveport,” said Patty Lopez-Granier, a researcher at the Louisiana Workforce Commission. She added that professional business services also saw reductions in Baton Rouge.
In Shreveport, the Haynesville Shale natural gas find is adding fuel to that region’s economy, which picked up 4,800 jobs in May. New Orleans gained 4,900 jobs and saw growth in virtually all areas, Lopez-Granier said.
“New Orleans and Shreveport saw industry growth across-the-board in most major private industry sectors,” she noted.
Other parts of the state also saw strong job gains. Houma gained 2,400 jobs, many in the service-providing sectors, which was also a growth area in Lake Charles, which picked up 1,900 jobs.
Alexandria posted a gain of 1,400 jobs from a year ago, many of those were also in the service-providing sector.
Lafayette experienced slight job losses in May, shedding 100 jobs from a year ago. Monroe also lost 900 jobs in May compared to last year, mostly in the service-providing sectors.
Statewide, nine of the state’s 11 industry sectors added jobs last month with some of the strongest job gains in the education and health-services sector, which picked up 10,500 jobs. Government continues to be a drag on Louisiana’s job numbers, as that sector shrank by 15,900 jobs.
Activity in state’s manufacturing segments and other somewhat entry-level jobs is robust, said Adam Bermudez, who owns Worknet Staffing, a New Orleans temp agency serving most of South Louisiana. Though despite what appears to be good news for economic growth in the private sector across much of the state, employers are remaining skittish, he added.
“We’re definitely seeing an uptick in activity,” Bermudez said. “Companies are busier. Manufacturers are busier. But they’re finding other ways besides making those direct hires to get the work done.
“I don’t know if companies have just made a decision, ?We’ll just contract with workers instead of hiring them,’” he added. “There’s just a lot of uncertainty still out there and a lot of businesses are cut down to the bone.”