Although only four of the state’s nine metro areas added jobs during the 12 months through June, Louisiana’s nonfarm employment still grew by 15,100 jobs to 1,995,800.
The Baton Rouge metro area led the way, adding 10,300 jobs during the 12-month period to reach 403,700 jobs. It was the 54th consecutive month of year-over-year increases in nonfarm employment, according to preliminary numbers from the Louisiana Workforce Commission. The numbers have not been adjusted for seasonal factors.
Lake Charles added 5,800 jobs; Hammond, 1,100; and Alexandria, 300.
Job losses hit New Orleans, 3,400; Lafayette, 600; Houma-Thibodaux, 1,100; Monroe, 300; and Shreveport-Bossier City, 2,000.
“This is one of those times where it really depends on where you live,” economist Loren Scott said. “It’s only where the big industrial construction is going on where you’re seeing growth right now. You’re really starting to feel the impact of the oil price drop now on the patch.”
People in the oil patch started to breathe easier when oil prices climbed to more than $60 a barrel earlier this year after falling from more than $100 since June 2014. But the latest price drop, which has seen oil slip back to less than $50, has been demoralizing. The bigger exploration companies have announced large cuts in capital budgets for 2016. The national rig count is about half of what it was a year ago. Ship and fabrication yards, who service the offshore industry, are being hammered.
Edison Chouest, for example, has 52 of its vessels tied up. Roughly 30 of those serviced the Gulf of Mexico, Scott said. The company has released about 2,000 people from its shipyards.
Still, there are positive signs for the state’s overall economy.
The state’s civilian labor force — the people employed or looking for work — reached a record 2,233,247 in June. The increase in people looking for work, 10,818 more than in June 2014, increased the state’s jobless rate to 7 percent, 0.4 percent more than in May.
“Steady jobs growth and record numbers of people available for work are both very encouraging, especially against a backdrop of more people working in Louisiana than ever before,” Workforce Commission Executive Director Curt Eysink said.
Among the metro areas:
BATON ROUGE: The capital area’s biggest gains were in construction, 5,100 jobs; professional and business services, 4,600; and education and health services, 2,300.
NEW ORLEANS: The state’s largest job market dropped 3,400 jobs to 564,400. The biggest drop took place in the goods-producing segment, which lost 4,600 positions. Those losses were offset by an even larger gain in service-providing industries, which includes trade, transportation and utilities, according to BLS.
LAFAYETTE: The continued slump in oil prices cut 600 jobs from the metro area, reducing it to 220,700. The mining and logging sector, which includes oil and gas jobs, dropped 2,000 jobs by itself. Gains in service-providing and health and education helped offset those losses.
HAMMOND: The state’s smallest metro added 1,100 jobs to reach 44,600, mainly through service-providing jobs.
LAKE CHARLES: The metro area reached 102,600 jobs with its 5,800-job gain. Lake Charles added 1,800 construction jobs and 2,500 leisure and hospitality positions.
HOUMA-THIBODAUX: The metro area’s biggest hit took place in the oil and gas industry, a loss of 600 jobs. Houma-Thibodaux’s employment slipped to 100,800 jobs, down 1,100. Other sectors couldn’t pick up the oil patch’s slack. None of the area’s sectors showed gains.
MONROE: The northeast Louisiana metro area dropped 300 jobs to 77,700. Its service-providing sector was down 400 jobs, while the goods-producing sector was up 100 jobs.
SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY: The metro lost 2,000 jobs to 182,600. Major contributors included oil and gas, down 600 jobs; leisure and hospitality, down 400 jobs; and information, down 200 jobs.
ALEXANDRIA: The area added 300 jobs to lift nonfarm employment to 63,700 jobs. Service-providing and goods-producing sectors added jobs while government lost 100 jobs.
Follow Ted Griggs on Twitter, @tedgriggsbr.