Job gains continue in BR, New Orleans, Lafayette

The number of nonfarm jobs in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette and statewide continued to increase in May at about the same pace as the month before, according to figures released Thursday by the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

Despite slight job losses in three of its eight metro areas — Alexandria, Monroe and Shreveport-Bossier — Louisiana gained 19,400 jobs over the 12-month period that started in May 2012. The 1 percent increase put the statewide jobs total at nearly 1.96 million, according to estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In April, the state added 19,500 jobs, for 1 percent growth since April 2012.

At the same time, the unemployment rate statewide and in Louisiana’s eight metro areas increased slightly.

“The key trend is that private-sector employers are continuing to hire and create new jobs, while some major industries are ramping up for expansions,” said Curt Eysink, executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

Louisiana’s civilian labor force, which includes people who are working and also unemployed people who are looking for jobs, increased by 15,419 for the year, putting the labor force at just under 2.1 million.

BATON ROUGE: The number of nonfarm jobs in metro Baton Rouge increased by 5,000 during the 12-month period. That 1.3 percent gain put the Capital Region at 380,900 jobs.

The city saw job gains in a number of sectors, most notably construction, which went to 45,300 jobs in May from 39,500 a year earlier, and goods-producing jobs, which increased to 73,900 from 68,000. The number of chemical and petrochemical projects that have been announced locally over the past year or so has led to the increase in construction jobs.

NEW ORLEANS: The metro area added 1,800 jobs in the May report, bumping the Crescent City up to 536,400. That was an increase of 0.3 percent from a year ago.

The city saw gains in the number of retail trade jobs, going to 59,900 from 58,200, while private service-providing jobs went up from 388,600 to 391,000. But New Orleans was hurt by the winding down of production at the Avondale shipyard. The number of ship and boat building jobs fell from 4,800 in May 2012 to 3,400 last month.

LAFAYETTE: Lafayette added 1,500 jobs, a gain of 1 percent, to come in at 158,900 for the 12-month period. Much of that gain came from an increase in private service-providing jobs, which were up 2,100 for the 12-month period to 105,400.

OTHER METRO AREAS: Lake Charles added 3,000 jobs in the 12-month period ending in May to come in at 93,800. Houma-Thibodaux added 2,100 jobs to reach 96,700.

Shreveport-Bossier, which has been hard hit by the shutdown of the General Motors plant, layoffs at Libbey Glass and the relocation of A-10 tank-killing planes from Barksdale Air Force Base, lost 2,400 jobs from May to May, for total employment of 176,500. Alexandria had a 900-job decrease for total employment of 62,700. Monroe lost 300 jobs to come in at 77,300.

Statewide, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in May was 6.8 percent. Louisiana was well below the national unemployment average of 7.6 percent.

The state’s non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in May was 7 percent, the workforce commission reported. That’s up from 6.2 percent in April.

Lafayette had a non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 5.3 percent in May, far below the state average, but up from 4.9 percent in April. Baton Rouge came in at 6.8 percent, below the state average and up from 6.5 percent in April.

New Orleans had a 7 percent unemployment rate, right at the state average and up from 6.6 percent in April.