Five of Louisiana’s nine metro areas suffered job losses over the 12-month period through March. Still, the job winners outpaced the losers to give the state an overall gain of 14,600 nonfarm jobs.
Metro area job losses were suffered by New Orleans, Lafayette, Monroe, Houma-Thibodaux and Shreveport-Bossier City. But gains in Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, Hammond and Alexandria helped offset the losses.
That lifted Louisiana to more than 1.98 million jobs, according to numbers released Thursday by the Louisiana Workforce Commission. Those preliminary numbers were not adjusted for seasonal factors.
BATON ROUGE: The Baton Rouge metropolitan area led all state metros with 8,100 new nonfarm jobs over the year. That success pushed the capital region’s total to 399,500 employed workers.
Continuing a monthslong trend, the capital area gained 2,900 construction jobs for a total of 50,700 in that sector.
The Baton Rouge metro also experienced big gains in professional and business services, up 2,700 positions to 48,400; education and health services, up 1,500 jobs to 54,300; manufacturing, a boost of 1,000 to 29,400; and financial activities, up 900 workers to 29,400.
Baton Rouge suffered its largest job loss — 1,300 — among state employees. That slump dropped the sector to 36,700 jobs.
NEW ORLEANS: The New Orleans area lost 800 jobs and finished with a total of 562,900 as of March 31.
Among the biggest losses in the New Orleans metro were 3,300 construction jobs, which dropped that sector to 27,900.
Other notable dips were in manufacturing, down 1,900 to 29,500; professional and business services, slashed by 1,800 to 72,900; and state government, which dropped 1,100 jobs to 13,400.
LAFAYETTE: Lafayette’s metro lost 100 jobs, ending the 12 months with employment of 220,000.
Professional and business services were down 1,400 to 22,000. Construction jobs slipped by 500 to 11,100.
As in the past several months, the Lafayette area saw mining and logging, which includes oil and gas jobs, decline by 1,000 jobs to 22,300. Support activities for mining dropped another 1,100 jobs and finished at 19,600.
But big gains of 1,500 jobs in trade, transportation and utilities; 1,200 in retail trade; and 400 in both manufacturing and leisure and hospitality almost pushed the Cajun metro to break even for the 12-month period.
OTHER AREAS: Monroe lagged all metros and suffered 1,300 job losses over the 12 months. That metro area finished with a total of 77,000 employed workers.
Other year-over-year losses were recorded for the Houma-Thibodaux area, down 700 jobs to 100,000, and the Shreveport-Bossier City metro, down 900 jobs to a new total of 182,600.
Metro area job gains were posted for Lake Charles, up 7,000 to a new total of 102,000 as of March 31; Hammond, up 1,000 to a new total of 44,200; and Alexandria, up 900 jobs to a total of 64,100.
Despite the state’s year-over-year job gains, Louisiana and all of its metro areas suffered increases in their unemployment rates over the 12 months.
“Once again, the increase in the unemployment rate is driven by the massive increase in people looking for work in Louisiana, not by layoffs,” said Curt Eysink, the Louisiana Workforce Commission’s executive director.
“Despite a modest increase in the unemployment rate, we have another month with a huge increase in the number of people who are working, and we saw a solid increase in the number of available jobs,” Eysink said.
Louisiana’s unemployment rate ticked upward by 0.8 percentage points to 6.4 percent for the year ended March 31.
The year-over-year increases in metro unemployment rates were: Baton Rouge by 0.5 point to 5.6 percent; Orleans by 0.7 point to 6.2 percent; Lafayette by 1.3 points to 6 percent; Alexandria by 0.8 point to 6.6 percent; Hammond by 0.7 point to 7.2 percent; Houma-Thibodaux by 1.3 points to 5.5 percent; Lake Charles by 0.3 point to 5.5 percent; Monroe by 0.8 point to 6.9 percent; and Shreveport-Bossier City by 0.8 point to 7 percent.