The Bureau of Labor and Statistics finds Louisiana’s unemployment rate has seen little change overall in the past year, but manufacturing and the oil and gas industry continue to see big losses. Houma lost 6,000 jobs over the year, and Lafayette lost 9,000. LSU economist Dr. Loren Scott says the loss rate in the Houma and Lafayette areas has slowed, but not enough.
“The numbers are still not good at all. Especially in the Houma and Lafayette area we’ve got the Gulf of Mexico, which is not coming back right now. The price of oil remains too low,” Scott said.
However, other employment sectors like construction and education and health services saw tremendous gains. The Lake Charles area in particular saw an increase of 5,600 jobs over the year. Scott says the primary reason for that growth is the industrial expansion.
“They’ve had $96 billion in industrial announcements over there. That’s just an unheard of number. Historically if we had $5 billion in the whole state, that would have been great. They had $96 billion,” Scott said.
Louisiana’s unemployment rate is just under 6-percent statewide. Baton Rouge lost 1,300 jobs over the year, but gained 4,100 in the past month. Scott says the Capitol City has a number of projects that are underway and even more that have recently been announced.
“We have not only a number of them that have been under construction, but we have good announcements coming in our area that’s going to keep Baton Rouge on a good growth path,” Scott said.
In other areas of the state, Alexandria is down 400 jobs, and Shreveport lost 2,900, while Monroe gained 200, and New Orleans is up 300 jobs over the last year.