The number of jobs in four of Louisiana's nine metro areas were higher in December than 12 months earlier and the state had 9,800 more nonfarm jobs than it did a year ago.
Gains were recorded in Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, Hammond and Monroe. Losses hit New Orleans, Houma-Thibodaux, Shreveport-Bossier and Alexandria. Lafayette was unchanged.
There were 1,989,900 nonfarm jobs in the state during December, according to preliminary figures released Tuesday by the Louisiana Workforce Commission. That's a nearly 0.5 percent increase over the 1,980,100 jobs in December 2016.
This was the eighth consecutive month of year-over-year job gains for the state, the increase was again slower than the national average. There were 1.5 percent more jobs in the U.S. in December than a year earlier, according to figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that have not been seasonally adjusted.
BATON ROUGE: The Capital Region added 9,500 nonfarm jobs for the 12-month period ending in December for 414,000 total and 2.4 percent gain. The capital city gained the most jobs of any metro area in the state. The area added 4,300 jobs in the goods-producing sector and 5,200 in the service-providing sector. Among those sectors, the metro area added 4,100 jobs in construction, 3,000 in education and health services, and 2,200 in leisure and hospitality. The number of trade, transportation and utility jobs fell 1,100, its 15th consecutive year-over-year loss.
NEW ORLEANS: The Crescent City dropped 2,200 jobs to 578,200 for a 0.4 percent loss. Over the year, the area gained 2,800 goods-producing jobs, but lost 5,000 service-providing jobs. Among those sectors, 2,400 government jobs and 1,400 health care jobs were lost, while construction added 1,900 jobs and professional and business service employment increased by 1,700.
LAFAYETTE: Employment in Acadiana was unchanged from December 2016 at 199,300 nonfarm jobs. The goods-producing sector's 300-job increase was offset by a 300-job loss in the the service-producing sector. Among those sectors, mining and logging, which includes oil and gas exploration and production, was down 100 jobs from the year before, the 36th consecutive month of year-to-year declines. Manufacturing was up by 900 jobs, while retail trade dropped by 600 jobs.
OTHER AREAS: Lake Charles added 4,700 jobs from December 2016, a 4.2 percent increase, the largest percentage jump in the state. Hammond added 600 jobs, a 1.3 percent gain; and Monroe, 400 jobs, a 0.5 percent gain. Losses were reported for Houma-Thibodaux, 1,200 jobs, 1.4 percent; Shreveport-Bossier City, 2,200 jobs, 1.2 percent; and Alexandria, 400 jobs, 0.6 percent.
Statewide, the non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in December was 4 percent, down from 5.4 percent a year ago and above the national unemployment average of 3.9 percent. Baton Rouge's unemployment rate was 3.4 percent, down from 4.7 percent the year before; New Orleans, 3.7 percent, down from 4.8 percent; and Lafayette, 4.2 percent, down from 6.2 percent.