La. adds 17,900 jobs since May 2013

A record of nearly 1.97 million Louisiana residents were employed in nonfarm jobs in May. The seasonally adjusted statistics also showed the state’s employment figure last month was an increase of 17,900 workers since May 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Louisiana Workforce Commission reported Friday.

“Louisiana employers in many industries continue to add jobs,” said Curt Eysink, executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission. “And our employment forecasts indicate hiring will increase sharply for the next several years, creating more career opportunities for many more people.”

The state’s unemployment rate increased in May by 0.4 percentage points from April. But at 4.9 percent, Louisiana’s rate was down 2.5 percentage points from a year ago.

LWC officials attributed the slight uptick in Louisiana’s unemployment numbers to the seasonal departure from high school of 16- to 19-year-olds, who entered the workforce last month.

The nation’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.3 percent in May. Louisiana’s lower rate was tied for 14th best in the U.S.

At 2.6 percent, North Dakota had the lowest unemployment rate in the nation. At 8.2 percent, Rhode Island had the highest unemployment rate.

Louisiana’s unemployment rate was the lowest last month among the Gulf states. The other rates were: Mississippi, 7.7 percent; Alabama, 6.8 percent; Florida, 6.3 percent; and Texas, 5.1 percent.

While private employment in Louisiana increased by 25,300 in May over the same month in 2013, federal, state and local government jobs decreased by 5,600.

Government employees numbered 335,700 in Louisiana last month, their lowest total since 1990.

The only other sectors to decline in the year since May 2013 were information, down 3,300 jobs, and mining and logging, down 600 jobs.

Professional and business services added 8,300 employees over the past 12 months in Louisiana.

Other sectors with year-over-year employment gains were leisure and hospitality, 7,200 more workers; trade, transportation and utilities, 4,900 more jobholders; construction, 3,900; and education and health services, 2,300.

Construction jobs totaled 134,400 last month, Eysink noted, adding: “Our forecasts anticipate construction hiring will ramp up sharply for the next several years.”

Leisure and hospitality jobholders totaled 220,300 in May.

“Tourism and entertainment are providing abundant opportunities for people at all wage and experience levels,” Eysink said.