Louisiana’s brief emergence as a state with 2 million nonfarm jobs ended in January, but the state still came out last month 24,400 jobs ahead of January 2014.
Nonfarm employment was at 1.97 million in January, according to employment numbers released Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that are preliminary and not adjusted for seasonal factors.
Several economists predicted in 2014 that Louisiana would push significantly beyond 2 million nonfarm jobs this year, but they cautioned those predictions could be shredded by any steep decline in oil prices or emergence of a worldwide recession.
Oil prices were above $100 per barrel for the first half of 2014, but have since declined to less than $50 per barrel.
For the 12 months that ended Jan. 31, Louisiana’s mining and logging jobs decreased to 51,500 — a decline of 2,400 in the category that includes employment in the oil and gas industries.
Louisiana’s local, state and federal government employees shrank by 5,900 jobs over the same period, finishing at 323,800.
The number of people employed in professional and business services dipped to 208,300 — a loss of 900 jobs.
Over the same 12 months, though, the state’s construction jobs increased by 3,600 to 133,300.
Manufacturing jobs were up by 2,500 and finished at 148,800.
Other job categories that recorded year-over-year gains included trade, transportation and utilities, up 2.1 percent to 391,400; information, up 10.6 percent to 26,100; and financial activities, up 2.9 percent to 93,600.
Job increases also were recorded for education and health services, up 2.1 percent to 302,600; leisure and hospitality, up 3.3 percent to 219,400; and other services, up 1.3 percent to 71,800.
The BLS did not release a nonadjusted unemployment rate for the states Tuesday.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission, however, reported the state’s nonadjusted unemployment rate for its civilian labor force at 7 percent in January, an increase of 1.1 points over its rate of 5.9 percent a year earlier.
Louisiana’s increase in unemployment contrasted with the nation’s decrease of 0.9 percentage points to end the same one-year period with a rate of 6.1 percent.
The civilian labor force includes both people with jobs and those who are actively looking for jobs.
LWC officials noted the higher unemployment rates recorded in 2014 occurred simultaneously with big increases in the number of jobholders.
“It seems counter-intuitive that our unemployment rate would increase at the same time as we’re adding jobs at a healthy rate and … setting employment records almost every month,” said Curt Eysink, the LWC’s executive director.
“Clearly, the unemployment rate is not driven by layoffs,” Eysink said. “Instead, it seems to be driven by people entering the workforce faster than they’re finding work.”
Each of the state’s nine metropolitan statistical areas also saw unemployment-rate increases over the year ending Jan. 31, the LWC reported.
The Baton Rouge metro’s unemployment rate increased 0.9 percentage points to end the 12 months at 6.3 percent.
New Orleans’ rate ticked upward by 1.1 points and finished at 6.9 percent.
Unemployment in the Lafayette metro area bumped up by 1.2 points and finished at 6.1 percent.
Hammond, the state’s newest metro area, saw its 12-month unemployment rate rise by 1 point to 8 percent in January.
Other metro unemployment rates for January included that of Houma-Thibodaux, 5.5 percent, up 1.2 points; Lake Charles, 6.2 percent, up 0.7 points; Shreveport-Bossier City, 7.6 percent, up 1 point; Monroe, 7.7 percent, up 1.3 points; and Alexandria, 7.4 percent, up 1.4 points.