Louisiana’s nonfarm payroll jobs increased by 14,600 over the 12-month period ended March 31.
There were 1,983,600 state residents employed in nonfarm jobs last month, according to preliminary numbers released Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS numbers were not adjusted for seasonal factors.
“Overall, it looks like hiring in Louisiana is catching up with the rapid growth in our workforce,” said Curt Eysink, executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission.
There was some bad news in the oil patch, though, and it reflected the turbulence caused by the past year’s big decline in crude prices.
The mining and logging sector in Louisiana, which includes oil and gas workers, lost 4,400 jobs over the 12 months and finished at a statewide total of 49,400.
Local, state and federal government employment shed 5,700 jobs and closed the one-year period at 327,200.
The only other loss was posted by the professional and business services sector, which dropped 1,600 positions and finished at 210,400.
“Low oil prices probably drove the decrease in mining and logging and contributed to the losses in the professional and business services,” Eysink said.
The biggest year-over-year job gains were posted by education and health services, up 6,900 to 304,200; trade, transportation and utilities, up 6,300 to 390,500; and leisure and hospitality, up 5,400 to 223,800.
There was no change in the number of construction jobs, which remained at 136,600.
Manufacturing jobs increased by 2,600 and finished at 148,400.
The information sector employed an additional 1,600 people and ended the year at 27,600.
Financial activities jobs increased by 3.2 percent to 93,500.
Jobs in the other services sector nudged upward 0.8 percent and finished at 72,000.
Unemployment rates released Tuesday by the BLS were adjusted for seasonal factors.
Louisiana’s unemployment rate was 6.6 percent — 1.1 points higher than the national rate of 5.5 percent.
Louisiana’s rate also was 1.1 points higher than the 5.5 percent the state recorded for March a year earlier.
Eysink said repeatedly in the second half of 2014 that Louisiana’s unemployment rate was increasing primarily because people were entering the state’s job market faster than new jobs were being created.
Although layoffs are continuing in the oil and gas industry, Louisiana’s unemployment rate has declined by 0.4 points since January.
Eysink said hiring in other sectors “seems to be pushing our unemployment rate more into alignment with the fundamentals of our economy.”