Nonfarm employment was up for seven of Louisiana’s eight metropolitan statistical areas for the year ended Oct. 31.
Only Alexandria posted a loss — 700 nonfarm jobs.
Nonfarm jobs in the Baton Rouge area increased 1.8 percent to 398,800 in preliminary — not seasonally adjusted — numbers released Tuesday by the Louisiana Workforce Commission.
A one-year gain of 5,200 construction jobs led those Baton Rouge numbers, and the sector ended October with a total of 53,100.
The New Orleans area saw a 1.6 percent gain to 559,400. The area’s education and health services sector provided the majority of those gains, adding 6,900 slots and finishing October at 92,100.
“Private employers continue to add jobs in most industry sectors in Louisiana,” said Curt Eysink, LWC’s executive director. “They’ve been adding jobs for more than four years, and we expect the trend to continue.”
The Lafayette area saw its nonfarm jobs increase by 2.0 percent to a new total of 164,500. Accommodation and food services added 500 of those jobs, and the sector finished at 14,900 of the area’s total.
In the Houma-Thibodaux area, a state-leading boost of 2.7 percent increased nonfarm employment to 103,600. A 1,000-job gain in the trade, transportation and utilities sector pushed that sector’s total to 28,800.
The industrial boom in the Lake Charles area pushed nonfarm employment to 96,200 — a hike of 2.3 percent. That area’s trade, transportation and utilities sector gained 1,500 jobs over the 12 months.
Shreveport-Bossier City gained 1.3 percent, finishing with 173,400 nonfarm jobs. Accommodation and food services employers added 1,100 of those jobs by the end of October.
The Monroe area crept to 79,100 nonfarm jobs, a gain of 0.5 percent. The area’s professional and business services sector contributed 400 new jobs.
Alexandria’s 700-job loss was a 1.1 percent decrease to 62,200. Of the area’s job losses, 300 occurred in state and local government combined.
The preliminary and seasonally unadjusted numbers also showed Louisiana’s nonfarm employment inched within 3,200 jobs of 2 million — a figure that has never been reached in the state.
Louisiana’s unadjusted unemployment rate, however, was 6.3 percent in October, a year-over-year increase of 0.3 percentage points. The state’s rate also was higher than the nation’s unemployment rate of 5.5 percent.
All eight metro areas showed year-over-year increases in unadjusted unemployment rates for October.
The unemployment rate for the Baton Rouge area was 5.6 percent, up 0.2 percentage points from a year earlier.
Unemployment in the New Orleans area was reported at 6 percent, also up 0.2 percentage points for the 12 months.
Lafayette’s October unemployment rate was 4.6 percent, a one-year increase of 0.3 percentage points.
In the other labor markets, Lake Charles’ jobless rate grew 0.1 percentage point over the year to finish at 5.3 percent; Houma-Thibodaux ended at 4.2 percent, up 0.4 percentage points; Alexandria’s grew 0.5 percentage points to 6.3 percent; Shreveport-Bossier City increased 0.2 percentage points to 6.5 percent; and Monroe was up by 0.4 percentage points to 6.4 percent.
Eysink has stated for several months that the small increases in Louisiana’s unemployment rates are the result of an influx of people moving to the state in hopes of landing jobs in an unprecedented industrial boom.
LSU economists predicted last month that Louisiana will gain more than 65,000 jobs over the next two years as a result of industrial construction and expansion projects that are expected to reach about $100 billion in less than a decade.