La. adds 20,500 jobs, jobless rate dips to 6.3%

Jobless rate dips to 6.3 percent

Louisiana added 20,500 jobs during the 12-month period through November, bringing nonfarm employment in the state to 1,965,700 jobs.

Louisiana was among 49 states that added jobs over the year, according to a federal Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Friday that suggests recent improvements in the job market have occurred in most regions of the country.

The private sector added 26,000 jobs in Louisiana, overcoming a loss of 5,500 local, state and federal government jobs during the period.

October was the 39th consecutive month of year-over-year job gains in the private sector in the state, according to seasonally adjusted data.

The Louisiana Workforce Commission said trade, transportation and utilities led all industries in November, with an increase of 9,500 jobs over the year. That was followed by leisure and hospitality, which added 8,100 jobs, and construction, with 5,100 additional jobs.

The report is based on data from a BLS survey of more than 6,000 employers around the state and across industries.

Louisiana’s unemployment rate improved in November for the third consecutive month to 6.3 percent but came in above the 5.7 percent jobless rate for November 2012. The revised October 2013 rate was 6.5 percent and 6.8 percent in September.

The unemployment rates are based on a BLS survey of 750 households.

“The improving unemployment rate reflects what employers have been telling us for months, that their need for trained, qualified employees is growing,” said Curt Eysink, executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission. “The November numbers validate once again that Louisiana is on a great trajectory.”

The national unemployment rate in November was 7 percent, a five-year low. The Southern region average unemployment rate was 6.7 percent in November.

The civilian labor force in Louisiana — the total number of people employed plus those looking for work — was 2,087,993 in November, up 2,251 over the year, seasonally adjusted figures show. The number of unemployed for the month was 131,130, an increase of 11,467 over the year.

Nationally, the U.S. Labor Department said Texas added 274,200 jobs since November 2012, making it the biggest state gainer. California was second, with 226,200 additional jobs since November 2012, followed by Florida, which added an estimated 183,100 seasonally adjusted jobs. Alaska was the only state to post a decrease in jobs, dropping by 2,700 over the year.

Unemployment rates fell or were unchanged in all 50 states in November, evidence that hiring is improving across the country.

The lower state unemployment rates are due in part to robust hiring nationwide over the past four months. U.S. employers added an average of 204,000 jobs from August through November, a strong pickup from earlier this year.

Still, the decline in state unemployment rates has occurred partly because many people have stopped looking for work. When people who are out of work stop looking for jobs, they’re no longer counted as unemployed. The unemployment rate can fall as a result.

North Dakota remained the state with the lowest unemployment rate, at 2.6 percent. South Dakota’s rate of 3.6 percent was the second-lowest.

Nevada and Rhode Island reported the highest unemployment rates: 9 percent each. Nevada’s fell from 9.3 percent in October as employers added 9,500 jobs. Rhode Island’s declined from 9.2 percent as the state gained 1,400 jobs.

In a separate report, the Louisiana Workforce Commission said that initial unemployment insurance claims for the week ending Dec. 14 decreased to 2,737 from the previous week’s 3,159. Initial claims were below the 3,532 reported for the comparable week ending Dec. 15, 2012.

Continued unemployment insurance weeks claimed for the week ending Dec. 14 decreased to 23,892 from the previous week’s 24,160. The four-week moving average of continued claims, which is a less volatile measure, increased to 23,329 from the previous week’s average of 22,957