Baton Rouge and New Orleans both saw a drop in the number of nonfarm jobs in September when compared with the year before, while Lafayette and the state saw increases, according to information released Thursday by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The increase in jobs statewide, along with a decrease in the number of people who aren’t working, led to a drop in the Louisiana unemployment rate from 7.2 percent in September 2011 to 6.3 percent last month, the lowest rate in nearly three years. Those figures are not seasonally adjusted.
Baton Rouge and Lafayette had unemployment rates below the state average. In the Capital Region, unemployment was at 6.2 percent in September, while in Lafayette it was 4.1 percent. New Orleans was slightly worse than the state average, at 6.7 percent.
Louisiana had a 7.0 percent seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in September, better than the U.S. average of 7.8 percent unemployment.
BATON ROUGE: The Capital Region saw a 700 job decrease, going from 367,800 nonfarm jobs in September 2011 to 367,100 last month. While Baton Rouge saw an increase in construction and retail jobs, there were drops in the number of people working in government and hospitality, according to the report.
NEW ORLEANS: Total jobs in the Crescent City fell by 8,000 from September 2011 to 519,100. The drop in jobs was caused by slowdowns in the construction, specialty trades and retail sectors.
LAFAYETTE: There were 166,600 total nonfarm jobs in September, up 13,000 compared with 153,300 jobs in September 2011. Lafayette was boosted by more jobs in the oil and gas, manufacturing, education and health services industries.
LOUISIANA: Overall, the number of Louisiana jobs increased by 21,000 to 1.93 million in September.
Some economists, most notably Loren Scott, have questioned the accuracy of the BLS estimates, which are based on sample surveys. Scott has said the problem is the estimates are based on sample sizes that are too small.
Other Louisiana metro markets showing job gains:
LAKE CHARLES: The area gained 1,800 jobs in September, up to 89,300 from the year before.
HOUMA-THIBODAUX: Like Lake Charles, the Bayou Region has been helped by increased activity in the petrochemical industry. The city added 1,500 jobs in September from the year before, to come in with 96,100 workers.
MONROE: After a small decrease in August, it was up 1,400 from September 2011, to 77,200 jobs.
ALEXANDRIA: Alexandria reported a modest gain in September, up 700 from the year before to 63,600 jobs.
Only one other metro area besides Baton Rouge and New Orleans saw decreases last month.
SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY: The market was the only one besides Baton Rouge and New Orleans to see a decrease, falling 1,800 jobs from September 2011 to 176,600.