La. adds 21,700 jobs since June 2012

Louisiana’s total nonfarm employment grew by 21,700 jobs in the 12 months ending June, even though the number of government workers dropped by 6,700 over the period.

Figures released by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Thursday show the total public and private sector employment reached 1,946,500 in June.

This is the 34th consecutive month the state’s private employers added jobs.

“There are more jobs than a year ago, there are more people working and business and industry is gearing up to add many more jobs. This is a time of opportunity in Louisiana,” said Curt Eysink, executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in June was 7.0 percent, up from 6.8 percent in May and 6.7 percent in June 2012.

Employment traditionally declines from May to June because of summer staff reductions at schools, universities and school boards.

The number of unemployed Louisiana residents rose by 7,348 over the year to 146,792 in June.

“The unemployment rate data contradicts other labor market indicators,” Eysink said. “Private sector employment, total nonfarm employment, the civilian labor force and the number of people in the labor force who are working are all up over the year.”

Despite the increase, Louisiana unemployment remained below the Southern average of 7.2 percent in June and the national average of 7.6 percent. Both the Southern and national averages were unchanged from May.

Louisiana’s labor force, which includes people who are working or looking for work, was nearly 2.1 million last month. The number of people working in the state was just over 1.95 million.

The unemployment rate is calculated by a survey that asks how many people are looking for a job.

A second survey each month asks employers how many people are on their payrolls, a measure that many economists look to as their top labor market indicator.

The state unemployment data was set to be released Friday, but the LWC said an unauthorized release of confidential employment data today by the BLS prompted the agency to release statewide data for June a day early.

The state followed the federal agency’s lead in releasing information.

Unemployment rates rose in 28 U.S. states last month, partly because more Americans started looking for work and not all of them found jobs.

The Labor Department says unemployment rates fell in 11 states and were unchanged in another 11.

The rate stayed the same because more people began job searches but not all of them found work.

The government doesn’t count people as unemployed unless they are actively searching for work.

North Dakota had the nation’s lowest unemployment rate at 3.1 percent, down from 3.2 percent in May.

Nevada had the highest at 9.6 percent, up from 9.5 percent in May.