Louisiana’s employment remained nearly flat for the 12-month period ending in September, with the oil and gas and government sectors taking big hits.
There were 1,986,400 people working nonfarm jobs in September, just 100 more than a year earlier, according to preliminary numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state lost jobs in five of 11 economic sectors. The mining and logging sector, which includes oil and gas, took the biggest hit with a loss of 8,800 jobs and continued a long-running trend.
“Low prices for oil are now being reflected in job losses across parts of south Louisiana and Acadiana,” said Curt Eysink, Louisiana Workforce Commission executive director. “The New Orleans area appears to be losing jobs in oilfield support services and construction. The impact is also being felt in the Shreveport area.”
Oil prices have fallen below $50 a barrel, more than $30 less than a year ago, and half their June 2014 levels.
As Eysink said, the impact of low energy prices appears to be spreading. Throughout 2014 and for most of 2015, the state routinely ripped off five-digit job gains each month. But in August, the state added just 3,000 jobs, and in September the gain was barely noticeable.
Employment in the state’s government sector fell by 6,000 jobs in September, while trade, transportation and utilities fell by 4,500 jobs. The construction sector dipped by 1,700 jobs while other services shed 600 jobs. The numbers were not adjusted for seasonal changes.
The losses in those sectors offset almost all of the gains in other economic sectors. Education and health services added the most positions, 8,800. Professional and business services gained 5,600 jobs.
The United States added 2.7 million jobs over the same period, an increase of 1.9 percent.
Meanwhile, Louisiana’s jobless rate dipped to 6.2 percent, down from 6.7 percent a year ago. Despite that, the state’s unemployment rate remains among the highest in the country. Only four states — New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and West Virginia — and the District of Columbia had higher jobless rates. The District of Columbia’s jobless rate was the highest at 6.9 percent. New Mexico was next at 6.7 percent. The national unemployment rate was 5.1 percent, down from 5.9 percent a year ago.
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