News - Details
Date:June 22, 2012
Contact:Media Relations @ (225) 342-3035

Number of Louisianians Working Grows in May

BATON ROUGE – The civilian labor force and employment in Louisiana continued to grow in May, according to federal figures released today.

The civilian labor force – an estimate of the number of people working plus the number looking for work – grew by 16,789 over the month and 17,583 over the year to a seasonally unadjusted total of 2,079,716, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, which prepares the estimates. The number of people working increased on a seasonally unadjusted basis by 1,785 over the month and by 17,918 over the year to a total of 1,932,131 in May. The number of unemployed was up by 15,004 over the month and down by 335 over the year to a total of 147,585 in May. Because these figures are not adjusted for seasonal employment patterns, they are heavily influenced by school, college and university employees who are taking summer breaks.

Based on those numbers, which are estimated from a survey of households, the state’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate was 7.1 percent in May, up 0.7 percent over the month and down 0.1 percent over the year. The national rate increased by 0.2 percent over the month to 7.9 percent and the Southern Region rate increased by 0.3 percent over the month to 7.6 percent.

The seasonally unadjusted unemployment figures for all eight of Louisiana’s metropolitan statistical areas and their change over the year are:

Alexandria: 7.1 percent, up 0.2 percent over the year

Baton Rouge: 7.1 percent, down 0.2 percent over the year

Houma: 5.1 percent, down 0.4 percent over the year

Lafayette: 5.1 percent, down 0.7 percent over the year

Lake Charles: 6.9 percent, up 0.2 percent over the year

Monroe: 7.7 percent, up 0.2 percent over the year

New Orleans: 7.2 percent, up 0.2 percent over the year

Shreveport: 7.0 percent, up 0.4 percent over the year

BLS uses separate surveys of employers to estimate nonfarm employment. According to BLS, Louisiana’s total seasonally unadjusted nonfarm employment for April was 1,953,600. The number of seasonally unadjusted private sector jobs for April 2012 was 1,589,400.

Louisiana’s total seasonally unadjusted nonfarm employment for May was 1,949,200, a decrease of 4,400 jobs over the month but an increase of 39,800 jobs over the year. Seasonally unadjusted private sector jobs in May totaled 1,586,000, down 3,400 jobs over the month and up 38,200 jobs over the year. The decrease over the month was led by the seasonal drop in employment of 3,300 in Education and Health Services and a decrease of 1,300 in state government as both public and private schools, colleges, and universities closed or reduced operations for the summer.

In May, the LWC reported calculation errors by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics on the results of the survey used to estimate nonfarm employment. As a result, the LWC did not include April nonfarm employment data in that press release. BLS has since corrected its statewide nonfarm estimates for Louisiana for the period April 2010 through April 2012 and estimates for the Lafayette MSA from October 2009 to March 2010. A list of corrections can be found on the BLS website at:

BLS’s revised figures continue to support the growth trend in nonfarm jobs that the LWC has reported for nearly two years.

Last year, BLS implemented a new method to estimate nonfarm employment that greatly reduces state input into the results. The effect has been greater variability from one month to the next, particularly for areas that are smaller than the state, such as metropolitan statistical areas, and for industry sectors or subsectors.

For more detailed information on April and May 2012 employment data for Louisiana, visit the LWC website at and select Labor Market Information from the top-right menu. Then select Labor Force Summaries or Nonfarm Employment.

To view the BLS nonfarm estimates for the state, click here:

Note: This revision date does not reflect the revision date of the press release shown. Press Release postings are updated as needed and should be considered accurate as shown.