La. employment continues gain

Louisiana’s job market continued to chug along in April, as the unemployment rate remained low and employers kept adding to payrolls.

The jobless rate was steady for the third month at 4.5 percent, the 10th lowest rate among the states and best among the 17-state southern region. Louisiana’s unemployment rate was 6.4 percent in April 2013.

A separate survey shows employers added 14,400 jobs above April 2013 levels, giving the state 1,960,500 nonfarm jobs.

Both sets of figures — adjusted to cancel out normal seasonal changes and preliminary — were released Friday by the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Both BLS surveys give us goods signs that the number of people employed in the workforce are growing,” said Curt Eysink, executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

Private sector employers added 20,800 jobs, the 43rd straight month of year-over-year gains. That was offset by a decrease of 6,400 government jobs.

The state has seen four years of employment growth, outstripping the number of jobs lost during the recession.

Leisure and hospitality led all industry groups, adding 5,900 jobs over the year, followed by professional and business services at 5,700 more jobs, and education and health services at 4,800.

In addition to government, three other sectors had job declines: information, down 2,400, mining and logging, down 300, and manufacturing, down 200.

Rhode Island had the nation’s highest jobless rate at 8.3 percent, while North Dakota retained the lowest jobless rate at 2.6 percent. Unemployment rates fell in 47 states, rose in one and were flat in two.

The national unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent in April from 6.7 percent in March. That’s also lower than the 7.5 percent rate in April 2013.