Storms Take Toll on Louisiana Nonfarm Jobs

October 29, 2008

Louisiana experienced a loss of 17,500 jobs in the seasonally adjusted number of nonfarm jobs from August to September 2008, the Louisiana Workforce Commission announced recently.

However, the September nonfarm job total of 1,939,300 people working represents an increase of 6,400 jobs over September 2007. Nonfarm statistics are estimated from an employer-based sample survey by place of work.

Louisiana’s unemployment rate for September 2008 was 5.2 percent, up from both the August 2008 revised rate of 4.7 percent and the year-ago figure of 3.9 percent. Over the year, jobless rates were up in 47 states and the District of Columbia. Louisiana tied with Colorado and Vermont for the 21st lowest rate in the country. The September 2008 unemployment rate for the United States was 6.1 percent, the same as in August 2008.

Louisiana’s civilian labor force – the number of people working or looking for work – for September 2008 was 2,053,174, up from the August revised figure of 2,048,904. The number of employed in September was 1,947,054, down from 1,952,691 in August. The number of unemployed in Louisiana in September 2008 rose to 106,120 from 96,213 for August. Civilian labor force statistics are estimated from a residential-based sample survey by place of residence.

“The good news is that Louisiana’s workforce continues to grow. A difficulty with these numbers is determining the impact of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike and the degree to which other factors might be affecting them,” said Tim Barfield, executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

The nonfarm employment and civilian labor force numbers are based on surveys of activity during the second week of September. Hurricane Ike struck that week and Gustav struck the previous week.

“The numbers do show sharp jobs losses in the New Orleans, Houma and Lake Charles areas and less impact north of the Interstate 10 corridor,” Barfield said. “In the next few months we will get more information to quantify the effects of the storms and identify any underlying trends.”

Unadjusted unemployment rates are used to compare parishes and metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) to the state. The September 2008 unadjusted unemployment rate for Louisiana was 5.2 percent, up from the revised August 2008 rate of 5.0 percent. Lafayette Parish had the lowest unemployment rate of 3.2 percent in September 2008, while East Carroll Parish had the highest rate of 10.9 percent. Please see page three for the MSA rates.

Preliminary seasonally adjusted statewide total nonfarm employment for September 2008 was 1,939,300, down 17,500 from the revised August 2008 figure of 1,956,800. The sector breakdown was as follows: natural resources and mining, 52,100 employed in September 2008, up from 52,000 in August 2008; construction, 137,600, down from 139,200; manufacturing, 156,100, down from 157,000; trade, transportation, and utilities, 385,900, down from 386,500; information, 26,700, up from 26,500; financial activities, 96,600, up from 96,500; professional and business services, 202,000, down from 204,100; educational and health services, 253,300, down from 255,300; leisure and hospitality, 196,300, down from 199,500; other services, 69,500, down from 69,700; and government, 363,200 down from 370,500.

Six of the eight MSAs posted nonfarm employment losses over the month. The Baton Rouge MSA had the only monthly job gain adding 1,300 nonfarm jobs, and the Monroe MSA remained unchanged over the month.

Source: Louisiana Workforce Commission,

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