New Orleans adds 1,000 jobs over past 12 months as statewide total drops 15,500 _lowres

Advocate Photo by VERONICA DOMINACH-- The new University Medical Center in New Orleans and other medical facilities and services are helping drive job gains. New Orleans added 2,200 jobs in the health care and social assistance field, a 3.5 percent gain during the past year,

While New Orleans had a modest 1,000-job gain during the 12-month period ending in March, the number of nonfarm jobs across Louisiana dropped by 15,500 during the past year.

The Crescent City’s 0.2 percent job increase lifted the number of nonfarm jobs in the area to 573,000, according to figures released Friday by the Louisiana Workforce Commission. The numbers were not seasonally adjusted.

But metro areas heavily dependent upon the oil and gas industry, such as Lafayette and Houma-Thibodaux, saw jobs plunge. Five metro areas added jobs over the period, four saw declines.

New Orleans was aided by 2,200 more jobs in the health care and social assistance field, a 3.5 percent gain, and 1,400 more jobs in nondurable goods manufacturing, which raised employment in that sector by 8 percent.

But the city lost 1,100 state government jobs, a 7.8 percent decrease; 1,100 mining and logging jobs, which includes the oil and gas industry, a 14.7 percent decrease; and 1,100 financial activities jobs, a 3.8 percent drop.

Baton Rouge: The city added 10,300 jobs during the 12-month period ending in March, hitting a historic high of 412,200 nonfarm jobs. The Capital Region has experienced 63 consecutive months of year-over-year job gains, even during a time of severe budget cuts at LSU and Southern University and cutbacks in state government.

Construction was the biggest gainer, adding 5,000 jobs since March 2015, a gain of 10.2 percent. The number of information jobs grew by 800 during that period, a 13.1 percent increase. Retail trade added 1,000 jobs, a 2.4 percent gain. Health care added 1,300 jobs, a 2.8 percent increase.

State government shed 700 jobs during the past year, a 1.9 percent decrease.

Lafayette: It saw year-to-year employment drop by 9,300 jobs to 208,400, a 4.3 percent decrease. Mining and logging jobs dropped by 4,900, or 23.1 percent. Manufacturing, which covers equipment and goods for the oil and gas industry, was down by 3,900, or 20.5 percent.

Houma - Thibodaux: Bayou Region employment was down by 6,500 jobs, or 6.6 percent, to 92,200 nonfarm workers. Mining jobs were down by 1,100, or 13.8 percent. Support activities for transportation shed 800 jobs, or 12.5 percent.

Hammond: The metro area was down 300 jobs, or 0.7 percent, to 43,300. The job losses came in the goods-producing category.

Other cities: Lake Charles added 3,100 jobs, a 3.1 percent gain; Monroe added 700 jobs, a 0.9 percent gain; and Alexandria, 300 jobs, a 0.5 percent boost. Shreveport-Bossier lost 1,800 jobs during the past year, a 1 percent decline.

Louisiana’s civilian labor force, which includes people who are working and unemployed people looking for jobs, dropped by 22,625 for the year, putting the labor force at a seasonally adjusted 2.16 million.

Statewide, the nonseasonally adjusted unemployment rate in March was 6.1 percent, down from 6.4 percent a year ago, but above the national unemployment average of 5.1 percent.

New Orleans’ unemployment rate was 5.6 percent, down from 6.9 percent; Baton Rouge, 5 percent, down from 5.6 percent; and Lafayette, 7.1 percent, up from 6.2 percent.

A separate weekly report Friday showed first-time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending April 16 decreased to 2,791 from the previous week’s total of 2,997. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 2,789, The Associated Press reported.

The four-week moving average, which is a less volatile measure of claims, decreased to 2,692 from the previous week’s total of 2,714.

Continued unemployment claims for the week ending April 16 decreased to 22,685 compared with 22,941 the previous week. The four-week moving average for such claims decreased to 22,533 from the previous week’s average of 22,550.

Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.