Four of Louisiana’s metro areas posted job gains over the 12 months ended April 30, with four others losing jobs and one holding even.
Job gains were posted in Baton Rouge, Hammond, Lake Charles and Alexandria. Losses struck Lafayette, Houma-Thibodaux, Monroe and Shreveport-Bossier City. New Orleans was unchanged.
The end result for the state was a 9,700-job gain for the 12-month period to 1,986,500 nonfarm jobs, the Louisiana Workforce Commission reported Tuesday in preliminary figures not adjusted for seasonal factors.
NEW ORLEANS: New Orleans’ metro nonfarm employment total for April was unchanged from a year earlier — 564,100. The largest loss was 3,300 construction jobs, but retail trade added 3,500 employees.
“Even as post-Katrina construction jobs wind down, total jobs in the metro are holding steady,” noted Michael Hecht, president and chief executive officer of Greater New Orleans Inc. “This is a testament to the importance of the recent diversification and growth of our economy and bodes well for the future.”
BATON ROUGE: The nine-parish Baton Rouge metropolitan area gained 7,700 nonfarm jobs, tops among the state’s nine metros. Total nonfarm employment of 400,400 was a record for the month of April. The metro’s construction jobs increased by 3,600 over the year, and a gain of 2,400 jobs was recorded for professional and business services.
There were a few losses. State government jobs in the capital area dropped by 1,200 and finished at 36,200.
“The milestone aspect of this report probably prompts the most excitement, showing nonfarm jobs over the 400,000 level,” said Adam Knapp, president and chief executive officer of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber.
“It’s not all the time that a government update uses language like ‘highest in the history’ of the report,” Knapp added. “But just as promising is that the region is showing steady growth over a broad number of sectors, which demonstrates the kind of diversification we want, as well as growth.”
LAFAYETTE: Lafayette’s area lost 1,000 jobs over the 12 months. That was partly because of a 1,200-job dip in mining and logging, the sector that includes oil and gas jobs. Those losses have accompanied declines in the price of crude oil from more than $100 per barrel a year ago to about $60 this month.
Lafayette’s professional and business services sector also lost 1,100 jobs.
Many of those Cajun metro losses, however, were offset by 800 new jobs in trade, transportation and utilities; 700 more retail trade jobs; 300 additional jobs in education and health services; 300 new government jobs and 200 new slots in the financial activities sector.
HAMMOND: Hammond, the state’s newest metro area, gained 700 jobs over the 12 months ended April 30.
LAKE CHARLES: Lake Charles’ metro grew 7,400 jobs — including 2,700 in construction and 2,600 in leisure and hospitality. The area’s biggest loss was 300 state government jobs.
OTHER AREAS: Alexandria gained 100 jobs over the year.
Losses were recorded, though, for the Houma-Thibodaux, Monroe and Shreveport-Bossier City areas.
Houma-Thibodaux’s overall loss of 800 jobs included 600 that disappeared from mining and logging, the sector that is so heavy in oil and gas jobs.
Shreveport-Bossier City lost 1,800 jobs, including 700 in mining and logging, 1,300 government jobs and 500 in retail trade.
That northwest Louisiana area, however, gained 100 jobs in each of five other sectors — construction, manufacturing, professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, as well as transportation, warehousing and utilities. It also gained 200 wholesale trade jobs.
Among Monroe’s 1,600 lost jobs were 300 each in state government and in leisure and hospitality. Education and health services lost 100 jobs, as did professional and business services.
The state and all nine metro areas experienced higher unemployment rates in April than those estimated a year earlier.
Lake Charles had the lowest jobless rate, 5.3 percent, followed by Baton Rouge, 5.5 percent; Houma-Thibodaux, 5.6 percent; New Orleans, 6 percent; Lafayette, 6.1 percent; Alexandria, 6.5 percent; Monroe, 6.7 percent; Shreveport- Bossier City, 6.9 percent; and Hammond, 7.1 percent. The state’s rate was 6.3 percent. All of those rates were at least 0.8 percentage point lower in April 2014.