Louisiana's nonfarm employment rose by 2,700 jobs for the 12 months ending in April, thanks to a big jump in the number of people working in education and health services.
Louisiana ended April with 1,987,400 jobs, according to preliminary numbers released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The numbers are not seasonally adjusted.
The number of people working in schools or health care was up by 9,800, or 3.1%, over the past 12 months to 324,000. Leisure and hospitality jobs increased by 3,700, or 1.6%, to 240,600; manufacturing, 1,700 jobs, or 1.3%, to 136,100; and professional and business services, 1,800 jobs, or 0.8%, to 215,400.
Among sectors that saw a decrease, information had the biggest drop percentage-wise, falling by 2,000, or 8.3%, to 22,000 jobs. Construction was down by 8,000, or 5.3%, to 143,400; mining and logging, which includes oil and gas jobs, 1,100, or 3.1%, to 34,600; government, 1,400 jobs, or 0.4%, to 330,000; financial activities, 400, or 0.4%, to 90,400; trade, transportation and utilities, 1,200, or 0.3%, to 377,400; and other services, 200 jobs, or 0.3%, to 73,500.
The state unemployment rate, not seasonally adjusted, was 3.5%, down from 4.5% in April 2018. Louisiana officials said that is the lowest rate on record, topping the previous low of 3.6% that was reached in April 2008. Louisiana’s civilian labor force — people who are working or looking for work — was down from 2.11 million in April 2018 to 2.09 million.
Economist Loren Scott said he doesn’t put a great deal of stock in unemployment numbers because the BLS bases the numbers on a sample of households, asking people if they are working or looking for work. “The sample size is too small in Louisiana to get an accurate measure,” he said. But the cities in south Louisiana are continuing to add jobs. Lafayette is recovering and doing well after the sustained low oil prices. Lake Charles, Baton Rouge and New Orleans are doing well, Scott said.
“Wage rates started rising about a year ago and that’s a reflection of a tight labor market,” he said. “So these numbers are a good thing.”
The Labor Department said the national unemployment rate is 3.3%, down from 3.7% in April 2018.
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Louisiana's nonfarm employment rose by 2,700 jobs for the 12 months ending in April, thanks to a big jump in the number of people working in e…