N.O., Lafayette add jobs; BR dips slightly

The number of nonfarm jobs in New Orleans, Lafayette and statewide continued to increase in November, with Baton Rouge posting a small year-to-year drop, according to figures released Friday by the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

Baton Rouge went from 383,200 in November 2012 to 383,100 jobs last month.

Louisiana gained a total of 20,200 jobs, a 1 percent increase over the 12-month period that ended in November. The figures are not seasonally adjusted. The increase put the statewide jobs total at nearly 1.98 million, according to estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The unemployment picture improved statewide. The state and all eight metropolitan regions had month-to-month drops in the unemployment rate, thanks to hiring to help with the holiday shopping season.

Louisiana’s civilian labor force, which includes working people and those who are looking for jobs, increased by 13,349 for the year. That put the labor force at just less than 2.1 million.

Taking a look at the individual metro areas:

NEW ORLEANS: The number of nonfarm jobs increased by 2,000 from November 2012 to reach 540,200, or a 0.4 percent gain.

The number of professional, scientific and technical services jobs in the metro area rose by 2,300 over the year to 32,500. Goods-producing jobs increased by 1,500 from November 2012 to reach 71,200. That gain happened despite a loss of 1,600 transportation equipment manufacturing jobs, caused by the winding down of activity at the Avondale Shipyard.

LAFAYETTE: The number of nonfarm jobs in metro Lafayette rose by 3,800 or 2.4 percent from November 2012, to a total 161,900.

The jump in jobs was caused by activity in the service-providing sector, which added 2,300 positions over the year to hit 125,300. The local construction industry was up by 800 to 7,900, and manufacturing rose by 500 jobs to 11,800.

BATON ROUGE: The Capital Region was one of two metro areas in the state to post a decrease in the number of year-to-year jobs, posting a 100-job decline. A drop in heavy and civil engineering construction, which lost 1,400 jobs as the widening work on interstates 10 and 12 wound down, led to the decrease. Construction is expected to be strong for Baton Rouge over the next few years, as work begins on the $34.7 billion in local industrial construction projects in the pipeline.

There were bright spots in the Baton Rouge economy during November. The number of education and health services jobs rose by 2,000 to 52,800, thanks to the recent expansion of Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. And professional and business service jobs rose by 900 to 46,000.

OTHER METRO AREAS: Lake Charles was the biggest job gainer percentage-wise in November, adding 3,500 jobs to hit 96,300. Houma-Thibodaux added 3,100 jobs to come in at 99,900. Shreveport-Bossier City reported an increase of 700 jobs to end up with 176,900. Alexandria had a 500-job gain to hit 63,700.

Monroe lost 400 jobs since November 2012 to end up with 77,400.

The state’s nonseasonally adjusted unemployment rate in November was 5.6 percent, the workforce commission reported. That’s down from 6.1 percent in October.

Baton Rouge’s unemployment rate dropped from 5.8 percent in October to 5.4 percent in November. New Orleans had a larger drop, falling from 6.3 percent in October to 5.7 percent in November.

Lafayette saw its unemployment rate fall from 4.6 percent to 4.2 percent. Only Houma-Thibodaux had a lower unemployment rate, coming in at 3.9 percent in November. Both Lafayette and Houma-Thibodaux have experienced a boom from increased activity in the offshore oil drilling industry.