Louisiana and all eight of the state’s metropolitan statistical areas had unemployment rates significantly lower than the nation’s average of 6.1 percent in May, officials reported Tuesday.

Both Louisiana’s preliminary unemployment rate and that of the New Orleans area were reported Tuesday at 5.3 percent, which was 13.1 percent better than the national rate. None of the statistics were seasonally adjusted by either the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics or the Louisiana Workforce Commission. Adjusted numbers for metro areas will be announced later this month. The state’s adjusted nonfarm jobs total was announced June 20 at 1.97 million, a record, as well as an increase of 17,900 workers over May 2013.

Louisiana’s jobless rate was down 1.2 percentage points from a year earlier, and New Orleans’ number was down a full percentage point over the 12 months.

New Orleans’ job total grew by 10,400 over the past year.

North of New Orleans, job expectations are growing in St. James Parish, where South Louisiana Methanol LP recently received state permits that allow the company to begin construction this year on its $1.3 billion methanol production plant.

That three-year project is expected to require 650 construction workers, employ 85 plant workers and spin off 374 indirect jobs in transport, parts production and auxiliary services.

“Our state is sustaining and building on improvements we’ve been reporting for many months,” said Curt Eysink, executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

Eysink added the state “is enjoying the benefits of an improved business climate and a commitment from the entire education and training apparatus … to produce the workforce our employers need.”

Eysink said the state’s employment figures are expected to remain positive for the immediate future. “Most of the major industrial projects have not started yet.”

The workforce commission’s director was referring to corporate commitments over the past three years for more than $60 billion for construction of new plants or expansion of existing facilities that will create jobs for thousands of residents.

Meanwhile, employment numbers continue to improve in all metro areas.

  • The Baton Rouge area’s rate was 5.0 percent in May, which is 1.1 percentage points better than in May 2013. The area’s unadjusted job total grew by 9,800 over the same period.
  • The Lafayette area’s unemployment rate was 4.2 percent in May, which is 0.6 percentage points better than a year earlier. Its job total grew by 2,400.
  • The Houma area’s jobless rate was 3.7 percent last month, which is 0.8 percentage points better than a year ago. Its unadjusted job total grew by 2,000.
  • The Lake Charles area experienced unemployment of 4.7 percent in May — 0.8 percentage points better than in May 2013. The area’s unadjusted job total grew by 3,800.
  • There was unemployment of 5.5 percent in the Alexandria area last month. That was 0.9 percentage points better than a year ago. The area’s job total grew by 100 over May of last year.
  • Unemployment in the Shreveport and Monroe areas was reported at 5.7 percent in May.

Shreveport’s number was 1.1 percentage points better than in May 2013, and the area’s job total increased by 300. Monroe improved by 1.0 percentage points over the same period and added 1,000 jobs.