Louisiana jobless rate tumbles to 4.9%

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louisiana set a record in January with 1,990,531 people employed, which helped lower the unemployment rate to 4.9 percent, state labor officials said.
St. Mary Parish’s January unemployment, which was not adjusted for seasonal factors, was 5.5 percent, up from 4.8 percent in December, but down from 8.1 percent in January 2013.
There were 21,196 people employed in the parish in January, down from December’s 21,785. In January 2013, there were 21,027 people working in St. Mary Parish.
There were 1,229 people looking for work in January in St. Mary Parish, up from 1,105 in December and down from 1,849 in January 2013.
According to seasonally adjusted data released Monday by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people employed in January was 25,787 higher than January 2013. Meanwhile, the number of unemployed was 102,476 or 29,310 fewer people not working than a year earlier, according to a BLS survey of 750 households.
Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in January was the lowest since September 2008 and lowest in the 17-state southern region, where the average rate was 6.2 percent. The national unemployment rate in January was 6.6 percent.
It’s the fifth straight month unemployment has fallen in Louisiana.
“2014 is picking up right where 2013 left off,” said Curt Eysink, executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission. “Our labor markets are strong and we expect employment will continue to increase as billions of dollars of new projects ramp up during the next three or four years.”
Louisiana’s civilian labor force — the total number of employed and unemployed — was 2,093,007 in January, 3,523 fewer than a year earlier.
Seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment was 1,956,300 in January. Leisure and hospitality led all employment sectors with an increase of 10,000 jobs over the year. Other sectors with the biggest increases were trade, transportation, and utilities with 5,300; education and health services with 4,200; and manufacturing with 2,700.
Government had the biggest decline over the year, with 7,200 fewer federal, state and local jobs than a year earlier. The only other sectors that declined were information, which lost 2,500 jobs; and mining and logging, with 700.
The not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate improved over the year in every parish, as well as in all eight metro areas as follows:
—Alexandria: 5.2 percent, down from 7.5 percent in January 2013.
—Baton Rouge: 4.8 percent, down from 7.1 percent.
—Houma-Thibodaux: 3.5 percent, down from 5.1 percent.
—Lafayette: 3.9 percent, down from 5.5 percent.
—Lake Charles: 4.6 percent, down from 6.7 percent.
—Monroe: 5.5 percent, down from 7.8 percent.
—New Orleans: 5.1 percent, down from 7.2 percent.
—Shreveport: 5.6 percent, down from 7.8 percent.
The Daily Review staff contributed to this report.

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