Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment reached the highest mark in the state’s history in March, the Louisiana Workforce Commission has reported.
A survey of employers by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates Louisiana’s nonfarm employment at 1,952,100, increasing in March by 44,000 jobs from a year ago and by 2,100 jobs from the previous month. According to the BLS data, Louisiana has now experienced 22 straight months of nonfarm jobs gains with the March total surpassing the total before Hurricane Katrina, the previous high point.
The BLS report showed eight of 10 private sectors with employment gains yielding an over-the-year increase of 41,000 private sector jobs. Leading the way was education and health services, which added 13,600 jobs since March of last year, for a total of 299,900. Other private sectors and their employment and job gains were:
- Trade, transportation, and utilities: 380,100 jobs, up 6,800;
- Professional and business services: 201,000 jobs, up 5,700;
- Leisure and hospitality: 203,200 jobs, up 5,300;
- Mining and logging: 57,400 jobs, up 5,100;
- Manufacturing: 142,200 jobs, up 3,500;
- Financial activities: 97,100 jobs, up 2,800;
- Other services: 63,900 jobs, up 300.
Fueled largely by increases in local government jobs, the government sector overall added 3,000 jobs to 361,600. Meanwhile, two private sectors showed declines: construction dropped by 1,500 jobs to 121,200, and information was down 600 jobs to 24,500.
Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.1 percent in March, an increase of 0.1 percent from February, but lower than the year-ago rate of 7.5 percent. The number of unemployed people rose by 2,752 in March, to 147,077. Meanwhile, the civilian labor force — the number of people working or looking for work — grew by 4,061, to 2,064,571 in March.
The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 22nd lowest in the nation and the sixth lowest in the South Region. The rate for the South Region was 7.8 percent. The national unemployment rate for March 2012 decreased over the month to 8.2 percent.