Oil prices drive continued job losses in La., oil and gas industry loses 11,700 jobs _lowres

 

The number of nonfarm jobs in Louisiana fell by 21,200, or 1.1 percent, to 1,966,700 for the 12-month period ending in February, with more than half of the job losses coming from the struggling oil and gas industry.

While the state has been losing jobs steadily, the preliminary February figures released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics represent a slight acceleration. In January, the state dropped 19,500 jobs over the year, while 17,900 jobs were lost in the 12-month period ending in December, 11,500 for the period ending in November and 8,800 ending in October.

Louisiana’s mining and logging sector, which includes oil and gas, fell by 11,700 jobs, or 22.3 percent, over the 12-month period through February, according to the bureau’s preliminary estimates

Six of the 11 sectors measured by the bureau dropped during the 12-month period, with mining accounting for the biggest plunge.

Manufacturing fell by 7,800 jobs, while professional and business services shed 5,700 jobs.

Construction added 3,900 jobs over the year, and education and health services increased by 6,000.

The preliminary figures were not adjusted to reflect seasonal changes.

Nonfarm employment increased in 43 states and the District of Columbia over the 12-month period. California was the biggest gainer, adding 451,600 jobs over the year, while Florida added 243,200 jobs and Texas gained 170,900. North Dakota lost 22,700 jobs, and West Virginia was down 11,700 jobs. These figures are seasonally adjusted.

In a separate Bureau of Labor Statistics report, Louisiana’s unemployment rate — the people looking for work but unable to find it — was 5.9 percent in February, compared with 6.7 percent a year ago. The average unemployment rate among states was 4.9 percent in February.

The preliminary figures showed the number of unemployed people in Louisiana dropped to 127,600, compared with 147,400 in February 2015.

A portion of Louisiana’s decrease may have been because of a drop in the civilian labor force, often the result of people who were looking for work giving up. The labor force dipped 1.8 percent to 2.15 million in February, compared with 2.19 million a year earlier.

Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.