Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette gain jobs

The Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Lafayette metro areas all gained nonfarm jobs in August, and the state did overall, according to figures released Thursday by the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

Louisiana gained 33,600 jobs, up 1.8 percent compared to August 2012. The figures, which are not seasonally adjusted, show Louisiana’s total nonfarm employment at 1.96 million.

The construction sector was one of the state’s biggest gainers. Louisiana’s construction industry added 9,900 jobs, a 7.8 percent increase over August 2012. The sector’s gains helped offset the loss of 5,500 government jobs.

Employment statewide was up in six of the eight metro areas. Only Shreveport-Bossier City, which lost 2,300 jobs, and Monroe, which lost 500 jobs, had fewer people working compared to a year ago.

“The private sector has been making year-over-year gains for three straight years, adding more and more job opportunities for more and more of our people,” said Curt Eysink, executive director of the Workforce Commission.

The unemployment rate dipped from July to August in Alexandria, Houma-Thibodaux, Lafayette and Monroe, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unemployment remained flat in Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, New Orleans and Shreveport-Bossier City.

The civilian labor force — the people working or looking for jobs — increased by 6,637 people over the 12 months ending August to 2.09 million people.

In the metro areas:

BATON ROUGE: The number of nonfarm jobs in the metro area increased by 5,500 to a total of 378,800. The construction sector tacked on 2,900 jobs to push the total to 43,000. Private service-providing grew by 4,500 jobs to 236,100.

A number of multibillion-dollar projects have increased construction activity.

NEW ORLEANS: The number of nonfarm jobs increased by 6,500, or 1.2 percent. The August jobs total was 533,900. The area added 6,800 jobs in the private service-providing sector, which grew to 389,200. The area also added 2,200 retail jobs, upping the total to 59,900.

LAFAYETTE: The area added 3,900 jobs, an increase of 2.5 percent. Total nonfarm employment was 159,200.

The area’s employment growth was spread throughout just about every sector, except government. The leisure and hospitality industry had one of the largest percentage increases, 8.6 percent, or 1,400 jobs.

OTHER METRO AREAS: Lake Charles added 3,600 jobs, an increase of 4 percent. The area had 94,700 jobs as of August. Construction jumped 21.7 percent, or 2,100 jobs. Lake Charles is also seeing its share of major petrochemical projects. Houma-Thibodaux added 3,300 jobs, an increase of 3.5 percent, to 98,100. Alexandria added 100 jobs, growing to 62,600. Shreveport-Bossier City lost 2,300 jobs overall, falling to 175,500. The manufacturing sector lost 1,400 jobs, or 14.1 percent, while construction lost 1,100 jobs, or 12.5 percent. Monroe lost 500 jobs, slipping to 75,800.

Nationally, unemployment dipped to 7.3 percent, down from 8.2 percent a year ago.

The state’s nonseasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.1 percent, the same as in July, but up from 6.7 percent in August 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Baton Rouge’s unemployment rate was 6.9 percent, up from 6.7 percent in August 2012. New Orleans’ unemployment rate was 7.2 percent, up from 6.9 percent a year ago. Lafayette’s unemployment rate grew to 5.3 percent, up from 4.8 percent a year ago.