BY TED GRIGGS
Advocate business writer
August 27, 2012
Increases in construction and manufacturing helped the Baton Rouge metro area add 2,400 jobs during a 12-month period through July, an increase of 0.8 percent, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The state’s not seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs were estimated at 1,948,584 jobs, an increase of 26,773 jobs.
Five of the state’s eight metro areas added jobs, with the Lafayette metro area the biggest gainer with 15,400 jobs, an increase of 10.2 percent, according to the bureau.
The Lafayette area had 165,000 jobs in July, with the mining and logging sector, which includes the oil and gas industry, accounting for 2,900 of the added jobs.
The New Orleans area lost 3,200 jobs, falling to 521,200. The mining and logging sector dropped 6,300 jobs and construction 5,000 jobs, more than offsetting gains in the services and leisure and hospitality sectors.
Houma picked up 3,600 jobs, with the services sector adding 3,100 jobs and oil and gas 500. Houma lost 400 government jobs.
Lake Charles added 1,200 jobs, with the bulk of those gains coming in the goods-producing sector.
Shreveport added 1,000 jobs, with gains in retail; transportation, warehousing and utilities; business services; and education and health services offsetting the loss of 1,200 oil and gas jobs.
Monroe’s employment remained flat at 75,500 jobs. Alexandria lost 200 jobs to 62,800 jobs, with the goods-producing segment accounting for all of those losses.
Meanwhile, the Baton Rouge metro area’s July jobless rate remained at 8 percent, the same as it was in July 2011, the BLS reported.
Only the Monroe metro area, at 8.7 percent, and the New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner metro area, at 8.1 percent, had worse unemployment rates. Both metros saw their jobless rates increase: Monroe by 0.5 percentage points and New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner by 0.4 percentage points.
The state’s unemployment rate was 7.9 percent in July, up 0.1 percent from July 2011.
The other metro areas and their July jobless rates were Alexandria, 8 percent compared with 7.8 percent a year ago; Houma-Bayou Cane-Thidobaux, 5.4 percent, compared with 5.5 percent; Lafayette, 5.5 percent compared with 6.1 percent; Lake Charles, 7.4 percent compared with 7.1 percent; and Shreveport-Bossier City, 7.7 percent compared with 7.1 percent.
Separately on Friday, the state Labor Department reported that initial claims for unemployment benefits increased to 2,835 last week from the previous week’s 2,814. Initial claims were below the comparable week a year earlier at 3,733.
The four-week moving average, which is a less volatile measure of claims, decreased to 2,963 from the previous week’s 3,025.
The largest over-the-week decrease in continued claims was in the health-care and social assistance industry.
Continued unemployment claims claimed for the week ending Aug. 18 decreased to 34,464, compared with the previous week’s total of 36,001. The four-week moving average for such claims decreased to 35,889 from the previous week’s average of 36,445.
The Associated Press
contributed to this report.