Seven Louisiana metro areas post job gains _lowres


Seven of Louisiana’s eight metropolitan areas gained nonfarm jobs over the year ended Sept. 30, according to seasonally adjusted figures released Friday by the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

Numbers for the metro areas’ job categories were not seasonally adjusted, but they showed gains in all but the Alexandria area, which lost 700 work slots.

Big gains in education and health services and transportation, warehousing and utilities jobs led to an increase of 10,700 workers in the New Orleans area, where nonfarm employment grew 1.97 percent to 554,500. For September, the area’s unemployment rate was 6.2 percent. Average weekly pay was $870.

The Baton Rouge area led the state with 11,500 new nonfarm jobs, an increase of 2.97 percent to a new total of 398,900. The biggest gains were in construction, and the area’s unemployment rate was 5.6 percent. Average weekly earnings were $843.

Unemployment in the Lafayette area was 4.7 percent. For the year ended Sept. 30, that area’s nonfarm jobs increased 2.33 percent to 162,800. More than half of those gains were in the service-providing sectors. Average weekly earnings totaled $884.

The Houma area rode a boost in service-providing sectors to a 1.89 percent nonfarm employment increase worth 1,900 jobs. At 4.2 percent, Houma had the state’s lowest unemployment rate. As of Sept. 30, the area’s nonfarm jobs totaled 102,300, and weekly pay averaged $988.

In the southwest corner of the state, Lake Charles attracted 3,300 new jobs — a hike of 3.58 percent — to a total of 95,500. Growth was driven by a 25 percent gain in construction jobs. The unemployment rate was 5.5 percent. Weekly earnings averaged $821.

The Shreveport area experienced job growth of 1.23 percent and elevated its nonfarm job total to 172,200 — growth that was fueled by the professional and business services, construction and mining, or oil and gas extraction, sectors. At 6.6 percent, the area had Louisiana’s highest metropolitan unemployment rate. Pay averaged $645 per week.

Monroe nudged the job-growth meter up by 300 to a nonfarm total of 78,400. That area’s unemployment rate was 6.5 percent last month. Weekly earnings averaged about $644.

The Alexandria area leaked 700 jobs as its nonfarm total sank to 61,900 workers. Unemployment was 6.5 percent, and pay averaged $603 per week.