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Date:June 20, 2014
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Louisiana sets records in May for private and nonfarm employment
Private employers add 25,300 jobs over the year

BATON ROUGE – Louisiana set all-time highs in May for private employment and for total nonfarm employment, according to seasonally adjusted employment data released today by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Private employers added 25,300 jobs in the 12 months ending in May 2014, pushing seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment to 1,968,200 in May, a record.

Louisiana’s unemployment rate rose to 4.9 percent in May, a 0.4 percentage point increase caused largely by the seasonal entry of 16- to 19-year-olds leaving high school and entering the workforce. But the rate was Louisiana’s lowest May rate since 2008, and was still well below the year-ago rate of 6.4 percent.

Among southern states, Louisiana’s rate ranked second. The national unemployment rate in May was unchanged at 6.3 percent. Louisiana’s unemployment rate was tied for 14th lowest in the nation.

“Louisiana employers in many industries continue to add jobs,” said Curt Eysink, executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission. “And our employment forecasts indicate hiring will increase sharply for the next several years, creating more career opportunities for many more people.”

The BLS uses a survey of 6,000 employers spread across industries and the state to calculate nonfarm and private employment.

May’s survey found the fastest growing industry was professional and business services, adding 8,300 jobs over the year. Leisure and hospitality wasn’t far behind, adding 7,200 jobs. Other strong gainers were trade, transportation, and utilities, which added 4,900 jobs; construction, which added 3,900 jobs; and education and health services, with 2,300 added jobs.

Construction employment in Louisiana reached 134,300 in May, the highest level since October 2013. “Our forecasts anticipate construction hiring will ramp up sharply for the next several years.”

Leisure and hospitality employment rose to 220,300 in May, its third-highest level ever. “Tourism and entertainment are providing abundant opportunities for people at all wage and experience levels,” Eysink said.

While private employment reached a record high in May, the number of federal, state and local government jobs dropped by 5,600 over the year to 335,700, the lowest level since the BLS began releasing seasonally adjusted data in 1990. The only other sectors with declines in the 12 months ending in May were information, which lost 3,300 jobs, and mining and logging, which was down by 600.

A separate BLS survey of 750 households showed Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted civilian labor force grew to 2,107,641 in May, an increase of 5,715 over the year, and up 5,566 from the previous month.

The civilian labor force is computed by adding the number of people employed with the number of people looking for work. The number of people employed in May totaled 2,004,362, an increase of 37,463 over the year, but down 2,884 over the month. The number of people unemployed was 103,279, which was 31,748 fewer than a year earlier, but up 8,450 from April 2014, driven largely by teen-agers entering the workforce once schools let out.

“Today’s BLS report reaffirms our view that job opportunities are increasing for anyone willing to work hard and get training,” Eysink said.

The LWC will release not seasonally adjusted data for the state’s eight metropolitan areas and parishes on June 27.

Job seekers can explore careers, apply for the highest rated jobs and connect with local training providers on the LWC’s free career tool, Louisiana Star Jobs, at www.laworks.net/stars. A mobile version is also available at m.laworks.net.

To view all available employment data, visit Louisiana’s employment homepage at http://www.laworks.net and select Labor Market Information from the top right-hand menu. Then select LOIS (Louisiana Occupational Information System) and select Employment and Wage Data listed under Historical Data Analysis.

To view the BLS nonfarm estimates for the state, click here: http://data.bls.gov/pdq/querytool.jsp?survey=la.

Employers looking for workers should visit Louisiana’s employment homepage at www.laworks.net and create a HiRE account, which will provide access to qualified job seekers. Individuals looking for jobs in high-value careers should use Louisiana Star Jobs, the LWC’s free career exploration and job search tool, at www.laworks.net/stars.

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