La. gains 31,800 jobs in 1 year

Nonfarm employment reached a state record 1,981,300 in July, the Louisiana Workforce Commission reported in preliminary numbers Monday.

That was a gain of 31,800 over nonfarm employment a year earlier, according to seasonally adjusted figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

State employment records also were set in July for the construction (139,300); professional and business services (214,000); education and health services (296,600); as well as leisure and hospitality (222,600) sectors, LWC officials reported.

“These gains show that people at every skill level are finding work in Louisiana,” LWC Executive Director Curt Eysink said. “This growth is diversified, representing a broad array of opportunities that anyone can participate in if they choose.”

The employment sector with the largest year-over-year employment gain was leisure and hospitality — up 8,800 jobs.

Jobs in trade, transportation and utilities increased by 8,400 over the past 12 months.

There were 7,900 more construction workers in Louisiana last month than in July 2013. An identical increase was recorded for workers in the education and health services sector.

The number of manufacturing jobs grew by 1,700 and totaled 145,700 for the one-year period.

Financial activities companies employed 300 more workers in July than a year earlier and totaled 95,600.

Government jobs totaled 334,600 last month, a decrease of 6,500 from the same time in 2013.

BLS officials did not report a seasonally adjusted employment figure for Louisiana’s mining and logging industries in July. That unadjusted total, however, was 53,500 — a decrease of 1,400 in one year.

BLS officials also did not report seasonally adjusted numbers for Louisiana’s information sector. Unadjusted figures showed that sector declined by 2,200 and finished July at 23,400.

Louisiana’s unemployment rate last month was 5.4 percent, down a percentage point from a year earlier. The state rate was 0.8 percentage points below the nation’s unemployment rate of 6.2 percent.

For more than a year, scores of companies have told LWC officials their plans for building new plants or expanding existing facilities totaling more than $60 billion statewide.

“We’ve set and broken multiple employment records for three consecutive months, which tells us the expected increase in hiring has begun,” Eysink said.