Our Views: New numbers looking good

With Louisiana’s unemployment rate holding steady at 7 percent, there is some reason for restraint about the new jobs numbers, but it’s encouraging the state’s job performance is solid.

The state Workforce Commission said the August numbers showed nonfarm employment at a record level, 1.95 million. That is higher than in July 2005 before landfall of Hurricane Katrina.

The numbers are mitigated somewhat by a reduction in government jobs, whether in the state, federal or local sectors. The first is affected by layoffs at the former charity hospitals, although many of those jobs now move into the private-sector category as public-private partnerships take over much of the medical care for the poor, at government expense.

Are those truly “private sector” jobs? Well, much of health care is funded by the U.S. government anyway, so it’s probably unfair to count them out and leave many others in the private-sector category. But those laid off because of federal government budget cuts in other agencies do count as job losses in the state.

Overall, we agree with Workforce Commission Director Curt Eysink that the new numbers reflect positive news about the state’s future economic prospects. If it is not a recovery in the fullest sense, the growth is on the right side of the ledger.