Louisiana’s civilian labor force grew in January to the largest it’s been since 2005, according to seasonally adjusted figures released by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission reported that the state’s unemployment rate was 5.9 percent in January, down from 7.0 percent in January 2012, but up from the revised December 2012 rate of 5.6 percent. However, the number of people working in January was the second highest since 2005, eclipsed only by December 2012.
Louisiana’s unemployment rate was 15th lowest in the nation and the third lowest in the Southern region. The Southern region rate for January 2013 was 7.3 percent and the national rate was 7.9 percent.
The civilian labor force – the number of people working plus those who are unemployed and looking for work -was 2,093,527 in January, an increase of 12,353 from a year earlier and the largest it’s been since November 2005. In January there were 1,969,264 employed in Louisiana, an increase of 32,955 over the year. The number of unemployed was 124,263 in January, 20,602 fewer than a year earlier.
The labor force data is estimated from a survey of households. A separate BLS survey of employers shows total nonfarm employment in January rose by 18,100 over the year to 1,932,900. This included an increase of 22,800 private sector jobs. January was the 29th straight month of private sector job gains.
In 2011, the BLS implemented a new method to estimate nonfarm employment that greatly reduces state input into the results. The effect has been greater variability from one month to the next, particularly for areas that are smaller than the state, such as metropolitan statistical areas, and for industry sectors or subsectors.
On a not seasonally adjusted basis, Louisiana’s preliminary unemployment rate in January was 7.2 percent, a 1.7 percent increase over the revised December rate of 5.5 percent. This over-the-month increase reflects seasonal employment changes typically associated with college employees who did not work over the holiday break and had not yet returned for the spring semester, and the end of retail sales and shipping jobs associated with Christmas.
Louisiana’s not seasonally adjusted civilian labor force was 2,066,992 in January, an increase of 20,925 over the year. The number of employed was 1,917,654, up 26,780 over the year, while the number of unemployed was 149,338, a decrease of 5,855 over the year.
The state’s metro area not seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for January, compared with a year ago, were:
- Alexandria, 7.5 percent, unchanged from January 2012;
- Baton Rouge, 7.0 percent, down from 7.6 percent;
- Houma, 5.2 percent, down from 5.4 percent;
- Lafayette, 5.4 percent, down from 5.7 percent;
- Lake Charles, 6.6 percent, down from 7.0 percent;
- Monroe, 7.7 percent, down from 8.3 percent;
- New Orleans, 7.2 percent, down from 7.5 percent;
- Shreveport, 7.6 percent, up from 7.1 percent.
Source: Louisiana Workforce Commission