The New Orleans metro area lost 3,800 jobs over the 12 months ending July 31, more than any other city in the country, according to a report released Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The numbers were driven in part by the construction industry, which accounted for 2,700 of the total jobs lost between July 2014 and July 2015, said Ken Simonson, chief economist for The Associated General Contractors of America. Only the Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas area lost more construction jobs.
In total, New Orleans lost 9 percent of its construction jobs, among the steepest losses in the country, Simonson said. Most of those losses resulted from work wrapping up on post-Hurricane Katrina projects,including the massive University Medical Center and Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
“I haven’t heard about any positive (construction) developments in New Orleans. The spate of stories about the 10th anniversary of Katrina pointed out there’s still a very long way to go for the local economy and population to recover fully,” Simonson said. “Unless they’re getting a boost from tourism or manufacturing or something, I don’t see construction getting back to previous peaks.”
Over the year, the New Orleans area saw state government plunge by 3,100 jobs; manufacturing fall by 1,900 jobs; and professional and business services drop by 1,500 jobs. Health and education services added 3,400 jobs; leisure and hospitality had a 1,200-job gain; and trade, transportation and utilities added 1,500 jobs.
Meanwhile, Louisiana gained 13,400 nonfarm jobs over the year, despite losses in six of the state’s nine metro areas. Louisiana ended July with 1,978,800 jobs. That is a record for the month of July, according to the Louisiana Workforce Commission.
Big gains in Lake Charles, which enjoyed one of the largest percentage increases in the country, and Baton Rouge helped offset the losses in other metros.
Metro Lake Charles added 5,600 jobs, an increase of 5.8 percent.
The Lafayette area dropped by 1,800 jobs, the second-largest loss in the state, as the impact of the oil and gas industry downturn continued. The Houma-Thibodaux area lost 1,100 jobs.
Among the metro areas, year-over-year figures from the Louisiana Workforce Commission show:
BATON ROUGE: The area added 6,600 jobs. Professional and business services added 4,200 jobs, while construction increased by 3,200 jobs. The leisure and hospitality industry lost 1,000 jobs, with the accommodations and food services subsector down by 1,500. Local government was down by 600 jobs over the year, and state government by 1,200.
LAFAYETTE: The mining and logging sector, which includes the oil and gas industry, was down by 2,200 jobs. Professional and business services lost 1,100 jobs. Education and health services added 400 jobs, as did hospitality and leisure.
HAMMOND: One of three metros to gain jobs, Hammond added 1,000 jobs to reach 44,200. The service providing sector added 1,200 jobs. Goods producing lost 200.
LAKE CHARLES: Service providing grew by 4,100 jobs and construction by 1,400 jobs. Leisure and hospitality added 2,500 jobs. State government dropped by 300 jobs.
HOUMA-THIBODAUX: The area lost 1,100 nonfarm jobs, with 700 of those in mining and logging. Retail trade dropped 500 jobs, and state and local government a combined 300. Trade, transportation and utilities added 300 jobs.
MONROE: The area lost 700 jobs, 600 in service providing and 400 in state government. The area picked up 400 slots in trade, transportation and utilities, and 300 in education and health services.
SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY: The region lost 500 jobs overall. Some of the biggest losses took place in state government, 700 jobs, and local government, 600 jobs. Mining and logging lost 500 jobs. Education and health services added 1,600 jobs.
ALEXANDRIA: The city lost 200 jobs overall, with state and local government accounting for 300 job losses and hospitals gaining 100 jobs.
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