State jobless rate flat

The Associated Press

Louisiana’s unemployment rate held steady at 7 percent in July, according to numbers released Monday by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A separate survey from the same source showed that state employer payrolls fell slightly for the second straight month.

Louisiana’s unemployment rate was 6.6 percent in July 2012. Jobless rates had risen every month in 2013 before July.

The labor force and number of people reporting having a job were essentially flat.

Louisiana had 146,300 unemployed people in July, down from 146,700 in June, and up from 136,500 in July 2012.

Nevada retained the nation’s worst jobless rate at 9.5 percent, while North Dakota was again lowest at 3 percent.

The national unemployment rate dropped to 7.4 percent in July from 7.6 in June. It was also below the 8.2 percent level of July 2012.

The unemployment rate is calculated by a survey that asks how many people are looking for a job. A second survey each month asks employers how many people are on their payrolls, a measure many economists use as their top labor market indicator.

Louisiana’s nonfarm payrolls fell to 1.94 million people in July, down by 1,000 from June, but more than 23,000 higher than a year ago. It’s the second straight drop for Louisiana payrolls after five months of increases had pushed totals to a post-recession high of 1.95 million. Since bottoming out in late 2009, Louisiana payrolls have risen 3.1 percent, outstripping the number of jobs lost during the recession.

Worker totals fell by 2,500 in the construction sector and by 3,500 in education and health services. Those were the only sectors that saw decreases, but their drops totaled more than the gains in trade, transportation and utilities; leisure and hospitality; professional and business services; and financial activities and government. Manufacturing was flat.

The broadest measure of those who are unemployed averaged 12.5 percent in Louisiana during the 12 months that ended June 30, the most recent figures available. That underemployment rate includes not only those counted as jobless in the standard survey, but also people who are looking for work only sporadically, have given up looking, or are working part time because they can’t find a full-time job.

Nationwide, that broad measure averaged 14.3 percent during the same time.

Parish-level rates will be released later this week.

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