Unemployment rates have dropped in seven of Louisiana’s nine metropolitan areas over the past 12 months, the Louisiana Workforce Commission is reporting. But for Lafayette and its neighbors, the last year has seen a reversal in fortune.
The Lafayette Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Lafayette, St. Martin, Iberia and Vermilion parishes, has dropped some 4,300 jobs between October 2014 and October 2015, and ranks worst in the nation for MSA jobs decline, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics confirmed Monday. The number reflects a decline in payroll employment jobs.
In fact, the Louisiana Workforce Commission has noted, not-seasonally-adjusted numbers show 48,674 fewer participants in the state’s civilian labor force over that 12-month period with 37,076 fewer employed individuals; 11,598 fewer people are not even looking for work.
Louisiana is showing a bad turn in employment trends, with the nation improving in unemployment while the state is headed in the opposite direction. The preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Louisiana for October was 6.2 percent, up from the September revised rate of 6.0 percent. Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate for October 2015 was 5.0 percent, down from the September rate of 5.1 percent.
In the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Monday, only Lafayette and the Houma-Thibodaux metropolitan statistical areas — numbers for both MSAs are heavily influenced by the oil and gas industry — showed increases in unemployment from October 2014 to October 2015.
Conversely, the Lake Charles MSA had the third-best percentage of jobs increases in the U.S., fueled by massive construction projects in the state’s southwestern corner. Unemployment fell from 6.1 percent to 5.3 percent in Lake Charles from October to October, as the area added 4,600 jobs.
“The construction boom in the Southwest coupled with the continued growth of jobs in the hospitality sector are the bright spots in our state’s jobs picture this fall,” LWC Executive Director Curt Eysink said in an issued statement. “However, we continue to see low oil prices having a negative effect on jobs in the Lafayette, Houma and Shreveport areas.”
Lafayette unemployment was 6.8 percent in October, up from 6.3 percent in September and 5.8 percent in October 2014.
Houma-Thibodaux recorded 6.0 percent unemployment in October, up from 5.5 percent in September and 5.3 percent in October 2014. The area is down 2,800 jobs, year over year.
Houma showed the nation’s third-largest percent decrease of jobs with a decline of 2.7 percent, the LWC said.
The Shreveport MSA has lost 1,600 nonfarm jobs and 700 mining and logging jobs over the 12-month period.
“The decline in the number of people in the civilian labor force may be a result of the slowdown in the oil and gas industry,” Eysink said.
For oil and gas, things got no better in October: LWC reported that 700 jobs were lost in mining and logging, the category in which oil and gas jobs numbers are usually found. That marked the 13th consecutive month for job losses in mining and logging.
Private sector employment sector in Louisiana, often cited by the Jindal administration as a sign of improvement in the state, declined for the first-time in 60 months, the LWC reported.
Private sector employment was estimated at 1,661,600, down 3,900 jobs over the month and 3,000 jobs over the year.
Metro job rates for Louisiana MSAs
The LWC released these not-seasonally-adjusted results for unemployment around Louisiana:
- Statewide: 6.4 percent, up from 6.2 percent in September and down from 6.8 percent in October 2014. Down 8,800 jobs.
- Alexandria: 6.6 percent, up from 6.5 in September and down from 7.2 percent in October 2014. Down 700 jobs.
- Baton Rouge: 5.4 percent, up from 5.3 percent in September and down from 6.2 percent in October 2014. Up 7,200 jobs.
- Hammond: 7.0 percent, up from 6.9 percent in September and down from 7.7 percent in October 2014. Up 100 jobs.
- Monroe: 6.8 percent, up from 6.6 percent in September and down from 7.5 percent in October 2014. Down 500 jobs.
- New Orleans: 6.2 percent, up from 6.1 percent in September and down from 6.9 percent in October 2014. Up 600 jobs.
- Shreveport: 7.2 percent, up from 6.9 percent in September and down from 7.6 percent in October 2014. Down 1,600 jobs.
Source: Louisiana Workforce Commission
Largest MSA employment declines
- Lafayette, 4,300 jobs
- Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, Iowa-Illinois, 3,900 jobs
- Houma-Thibodaux, 2,800 jobs
Source: U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, October 2014-October 2015