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Date:June 25, 2009
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Louisiana Employment Outperforms the Nation

BATON ROUGE – Louisiana’s employment picture continued to outperform the nation in May despite a drop in nonfarm jobs, the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) announced today.

Seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs in Louisiana declined by 12,700 from May 2008 to May 2009, bringing the total number of jobs in the state to 1,930,200. Over the month, the state experienced a 2,100 nonfarm employment drop.

Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for May 2009 was 6.6 percent, up from the April 2009 revised rate of 6.2 percent and the year-ago figure of 4.1 percent. The May unemployment rate ranked Louisiana as the 11th lowest in the nation. The May 2009 unemployment rate for the United States was 9.4 percent, up from the April rate of 8.9 percent.

Louisiana’s civilian labor force – the number of people working or looking for work – for May was 2,069,048, down from the April revised figure of 2,074,281. The number of employed in May was 1,932,905, down from 1,946,353 in April. The number of unemployed in Louisiana in May 2009 rose to 136,143 from 127,928 in April. Civilian labor force statistics are estimated from a sample survey by place of residence.

“Our unemployment rate continues to be the envy of most other states in the South and the country,” LWC Executive Director Tim Barfield said. “But too many of our people are out of work because of what’s happening with the economy across the country, and we’re using all of our resources as well as additional stimulus dollars to help employ and train them.”

Preliminary seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment by sector for May 2009 was as follows: construction, 138,900, down from 139,500 employed in April; manufacturing, 144,200, down from 146,500; other services, 69,700, down from 70,500; trade, transportation, and utilities, 378,100, down from 379,400; information, 27,100, down from 27,600; financial activities, 93,300, up from 92,300; professional and business services, 201,600, down from 201,700; education and health services, 260,400, up from 258,500; leisure and hospitality, 196,900, unchanged; government, 367,600, up 700 over the month; and mining and logging (formerly natural resources and mining), 52,400, down from 53,000.

Nonfarm statistics are estimated from an employer-based sample survey by place of work. Seasonally adjusted data are used to compare states and to compare states to the nation. Not seasonally adjusted (NSA) data are used to compare areas within the state to each other and to the state as a whole. Not seasonally adjusted nonfarm May data also showed a loss of 3,700 jobs over the month and 15,700 jobs over the year. In addition, they showed job growth over the month in two of the state’s eight MSAs: the Baton Rouge MSA gained 300 jobs over the month while the Lake Charles MSA added 600 positions.

“The details within the employment data do show some signs of hope. For instance, real estate added 300 jobs and banking added 100 jobs. These could be signs, if they hold up, that we’re starting to bottom out,” Barfield said. “Health care added 2,200 jobs and hospitality and leisure is also up. Many businesses are hiring. There are opportunities in a number of fields.”

Louisiana’s unadjusted unemployment rate, comparable to MSAs and parishes, in May was 6.3 percent, up from the revised April rate of 5.6 percent. The comparable national unemployment rate increased to 9.1 percent in May, up from 8.6 percent in April.

Lafourche Parish had the lowest unemployment rate of 4.2 percent last month while West Carroll Parish had the highest rate at 15.6 percent.

For more detailed information on May 2009 employment data for Louisiana, visit our Web site at and select Labor Market Information from the top of the page. Then select Monthly Employment Bulletin – Workforce At A Glance or Monthly Employment Statistics Press Release for the latest monthly nonfarm and labor force data.

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