BR, N.O. report decline in jobs

Baton Rouge and New Orleans both continued to see a drop in the number of nonfarm jobs in October when compared with the year before, while Lafayette and the state again had increases in a monthly jobs report released Tuesday.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics report showed Baton Rouge and New Orleans were the only metro areas in the state to report a year-to-year decrease in the number of jobs.

The increase in jobs statewide — led by gains in the leisure and hospitality industries — caused a drop in the Louisiana unemployment rate from 7.1 percent in October 2011 to 6.3 percent last month. These figures are not seasonally adjusted. Curt Eysink, executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission, said in a statement that the state’s employment gains have been consistent for more than two years and spread across most industry sectors.

“More jobs, more people working and fewer unemployed indicate our labor markets in Louisiana are doing well,” Eysink said.

Louisiana had a 6.6 percent seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in October, better than the U.S. average of 7.9 percent unemployment.

Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Lafayette had unemployment rates below the state average.

In the Capital Region, unemployment was at 6.2 percent in October, while in New Orleans it was 6.5 percent and in Lafayette 4.2 percent.

Overall, the number of Louisiana jobs increased by 27,000 to 1.95 million in October.

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 and notes the numbers for Lafayette are similar to what was reported during the oil boom of the late 1970s-early 1980s.

The results for the state’s metro labor markets were:

BATON ROUGE: The Capital Region saw a 1,000-job decrease, going from 369,500 nonfarm jobs in October 2011 to 368,500 last month.

While Baton Rouge saw an increase in construction jobs, there were drops in the number of people working in government, education and accommodation, according to the report.

NEW ORLEANS: Total jobs in the Crescent City fell by 2,300 from October 2011 to 527,400 last month. The drop in jobs was caused by slowdowns in the construction, specialty trades and manufacturing sectors, the report said.

LAFAYETTE: There were 168,900 total nonfarm jobs in October, up 13,200 compared with 155,700 jobs in October 2011. Lafayette was boosted by more jobs in the oil and gas, professional and business services, education and health services industries.

HOUMA-THIBODAUX: The Bayou Region added 2,200 jobs in October from the year before, to come in with 96,900 workers.

LAKE CHARLES: The area gained 2,200 jobs in October, up to 89,600 from the year before.

MONROE: For the second consecutive month, the area gained 1,400 jobs, going from 76,500 in October 2011 to 77,900

ALEXANDRIA: The central Louisiana region saw a gain of 600 jobs from October 2011 to 63,200 jobs.

SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY: The market saw a modest jobs gain in October, up 300 from 2011 to 177,300.