Louisiana unemployment rate drops to 4.9 percent

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS. -- Louisiana Workforce Commission Execitive Director Curt Eysink is shown in this June 2012 Advocate file photo. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS. -- Louisiana Workforce Commission Execitive Director Curt Eysink is shown in this June 2012 Advocate file photo.

Louisiana set a record in January with 1,990,531 people employed, which helped lower the unemployment rate to 4.9 percent, state labor officials said.

According to seasonally adjusted data released Monday by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people employed in January was 25,787 higher than January 2013. Meanwhile, the number of unemployed was 102,476 or 29,310 fewer people not working than a year earlier, according to a BLS survey of 750 households.

Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in January was the lowest since September 2008 and lowest in the 17-state southern region, where the average rate was 6.2 percent. The national unemployment rate in January was 6.6 percent.

It’s the fifth straight month unemployment has fallen in Louisiana.

“2014 is picking up right where 2013 left off,” said Curt Eysink, executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission. “Our labor markets are strong and we expect employment will continue to increase as billions of dollars of new projects ramp up during the next three or four years.”

Louisiana’s civilian labor force-the total number of employed and unemployed-was 2,093,007 in January, 3,523 fewer than a year earlier.

Seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment was 1,956,300 in January. Leisure and hospitality led all employment sectors with an increase of 10,000 jobs over the year. Other sectors with the biggest increases were trade, transportation, and utilities with 5,300; education and health services with 4,200; and manufacturing with 2,700.

Government had the biggest decline over the year, with 7,200 fewer federal, state and local jobs than a year earlier. The only other sectors that declined were information, which lost 2,500 jobs; and mining and logging, with 700.

The not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate improved over the year in every parish, as well as in all eight metro areas as follows:

Alexandria: 5.2 percent, down from 7.5 percent in January 2013

Baton Rouge: 4.8 percent, down from 7.1 percent

Houma-Thibodaux: 3.5 percent, down from 5.1 percent

Lafayette: 3.9 percent, down from 5.5 percent

Lake Charles: 4.6 percent, down from 6.7 percent

Monroe: 5.5 percent, down from 7.8 percent

New Orleans: 5.1 percent, down from 7.2 percent

Shreveport: 5.6 percent, down from 7.8 percent.