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Date:November 24, 2009
Contact:Public Relations @ (225) 342-3035

Louisiana’s Unemployment Rate Holds at 7.4 Percent
59 Parishes See Decreases in Unemployment Rates from Past Month

BATON ROUGE – The state’s seasonally adjusted (SA) unemployment rate remained unchanged over the month of October at 7.4 percent, almost 3 percent below the national rate of 10.2 percent and also below the Southern regional rate of 9.5 percent. The October SA unemployment rate ranked Louisiana 15th lowest in the nation, an improvement from its 18th place ranking in September. There are 14 states with unemployment rates of 10 percent or more, and over the past month, the unemployment rate increased in 29 states.

The state’s not seasonally adjusted (NSA) unemployment rate for October 2009 was 7.1 percent, down from the September 2009 revised rate of 7.4 percent. By comparison, the national NSA unemployment rate for October was 9.5 percent, unchanged from September.

Seven of Louisiana’s eight Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) followed the state’s trend with lower unemployment rates for October. At the parish level, 59 parishes had decreases in the unemployment rate, one remained unchanged, and four increased by 0.2 percent or less. Lafourche Parish continued to have the lowest unemployment rate of all parishes with 4.8 percent last month. (More details on MSA and parish rates can be found on Pages 3 and 4 of this release.)

Job increases in service-providing industries fueled a 4,700-job growth in not seasonally adjusted (NSA) nonfarm employment from September to October. That brings Louisiana’s NSA nonfarm job total to 1,910,800.

The New Orleans MSA added the most nonfarm jobs over the month, with a gain of 2,200. Alexandria, Lafayette, Lake Charles, and Monroe had gains as well. The Baton Rouge MSA remained unchanged over the month, while the Houma and Shreveport MSAs registered nonfarm employment losses of less than 1 percent.

“We are pleased to see Louisiana’s unemployment rate remain stable at 7.4 percent while the majority of other states in the country saw increases in their unemployment rate. We also saw that the private education and health care services sectors continue to generate jobs. In the goods-producing sector, manufacturing led in job gains for the month,” said Louisiana Workforce Commission Executive Director Curt Eysink.

A survey of households is used to estimate Louisiana’s civilian labor force – the number of people working or looking for work. This survey in October showed an NSA labor force of 2,074,671, up more than 18,000 from the September revised figure of 2,056,443. The number employed in October was 1,928,132, a gain of 24,144 from September, which corresponded with a decrease of 5,916 in the number of unemployed in Louisiana. The number of unemployed in Louisiana fell to 146,539 in October from 152,455 in September.

Seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment for Louisiana was estimated at 1,905,900 in October 2009, a loss of 1,900 jobs from a month ago and a 44,000-job decrease from October 2008. “The October over-the-year decline is due in part to the uncharacteristically large increase in 2008 of 20,100 jobs from September to October as the state recovered from Hurricane Gustav,” said Eysink. By comparison, 2007 saw a September-to-October gain of 8,100 jobs.

The industry group with the largest SA nonfarm monthly gain was education and health services, which added 1,400 jobs over the month. This was followed by professional and business services, which posted a 1,300-job gain; financial activities, with an increase of 400 jobs; and manufacturing and government, with 300 and 100 more workers, respectively. Over the month, six industry sectors had decreases in employment: trade, transportation, and utilities lost 2,500 jobs; mining and logging posted a monthly loss of 1,300. Other declines were in construction (-700), information (-400), leisure and hospitality (-300) and other services (-200).

Yearly job gains occurred in education and health services, which added 4,500 positions, and a 400-job gain in government, which includes public education, a sector that has been driving growth in recent months. The largest annual employment losses followed the national recessionary trends and were in manufacturing and trade, transportation, and utilities, which shed 10,300 positions each. This was followed by professional and business services, down 6,600 jobs; and financial activities, which shed 5,500 positions. Yearly losses also occurred in mining and logging and leisure and hospitality (-5,400) each, construction (-2,800), information (-1,300), and other services (-1,300). Nonfarm statistics are estimated from an employer-based sample survey by place of work.

“Those industries that have been hit the hardest elsewhere in the country are the same ones impacted the most here in Louisiana,” said Eysink.

For more detailed information on October 2009 employment data for Louisiana, visit our Web site at and select Labor Market Information. 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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