By Victor Skinner | The Center Square contributor
(The Center Square) – Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate hit the lowest level in nearly three years in January, coming in at 4.3% after declining by one-tenth of a percentage point from the month prior.
Preliminary data for January released this week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is the lowest it has been since June 2019. The 4.3% rate is down 2.2 percentage points from the January 2021 rate of 6.5% and has declined in 20 of the last 21 months, according to the Louisiana Workforce Commission.
“Preliminary data for January 2022 also shows that seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment increased by 3,600 jobs from December 2021 to 1,900,000 and gained 50,400 jobs from January 2021,” the commission reported. “The state has added 190,500 jobs from the COVID-19 employment low point of 1,709,500 jobs in April 2020.”
Revised BLS data showed Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted private sector employment increased by 2,000 jobs from December to 1,589,100, or about 54,100 jobs more than the year before, marking the highest level since March 2020.
The overall number of seasonally adjusted employed individuals increased by 8,023 since December to 1,979,339 in January, while the number of unemployed individuals dropped from 91,256 to 89,824 during that same time.
The total number of people employed or looking for work in January was 2,069,163, an increase of 6,591 since December and 14,485 more than January 2021’s figure of 2,054,678, according to the commission.
“Louisiana’s workforce has come a long way since the pandemic started, and it’s promising to see so many people getting back to work,” Louisiana Workforce Commission Secretary Ava Cates said.
Seasonally adjusted data shows areas of the state that gained the most jobs in January included New Orleans, which added 1,600 jobs since December, and Houma, which added 500 jobs over the past month.
The New Orleans area gained 13,000 jobs over the past year, the Baton Rouge area added 10,600 jobs, the Lake Charles area gained 6,900 jobs, the Shreveport area gained 4,900 jobs and the Lafayette area added 4,700 jobs.
The Houma area is the only region that lost jobs since January 2021, down 2,500 jobs.
Nonseasonally adjusted nonfarm employment – job fluctuations that don’t account for predictable annual employment patterns – showed a decrease of 25,700 jobs since December to 1,884,800 in January, compared with the average decline of 34,200 jobs.
Nonseasonally adjusted private sector employment fell by 23,300 jobs over the last month to 1,574,200 in January. The 1,574,200 is an increase of 52,800 jobs since January 2021, the commission reported.
Industries that showed the largest declines in that category over the past month include trade, transportation and utilities with 8,100 jobs lost; construction with 6,000 jobs lost; and education and health services with 2,800 jobs lost.
Industries with the biggest gains for nonseasonally adjusted jobs since January 2021 includes leisure and hospitality with 19,800 jobs added; professional and business services, which gained 13,300 jobs; and construction, up 8,300 jobs.