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Apr 19, 2011 5:58 PM by Louisiana Workforce Commission

Private sector adds 10,000 jobs in March

BATON ROUGE - The growth in private sector jobs in Louisiana continued in March as employers added 10,300
nonfarm jobs over the year, the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) announced today.

Seasonally adjusted results of a survey of Louisiana employers by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates there were 1,892,300 nonfarm jobs in the state in March, a gain of 5,900 from February. The total reflects a gain of 20,800 private sector jobs from March 2010, while the number of government jobs in the state decreased by 10,500 from last year.

Nine of 11 industry sectors surveyed showed over-the-year gains, led by education and health services with a total of 275,700 jobs, up 6,000 from March 2010. Leisure and hospitality services had 199,100 jobs, up 5,500 over the year; information, 28,100, up 3,800; trade, transportation, and utilities, 366,300, up 2,800; mining and logging, 52,300, up 1,100 jobs; and professional and business services, 190,800, up 800. The other services and construction industry sectors each gained 300 jobs over the year for totals of 65,800 and 123,600, respectively. Manufacturing was unchanged from last year with 138,100 jobs.

The March nonfarm estimates are the first set produced by BLS using a new methodology that greatly reduces state input into the results. The use of the new methodology makes comparisons to previous months less reliable and, according to BLS, may result in an increase in month-to-month variability. However, in this first month using the new methodology, the nonfarm statewide results still follow the growth trend established using the previous methodology.

"The increase in March is the sixth straight month of over-the-year gains in the nonfarm job total," said Curt Eysink, LWC executive director.

The unadjusted nonfarm statewide job total in March was 1,889,600, a gain of 8,200 over the year and 2,700 over
February. The New Orleans metropolitan statistical area (MSA) has gained 3,100 nonfarm jobs since March 2010, with a total of 522,100 jobs. The Houma MSA has 94,100 jobs, an increase of 2,800 over last year; Shreveport has 177,400 jobs, 2,600 more than March 2010. The BLS survey also showed Alexandria with a gain of 1,000 jobs over the year to 64,100; Lafayette, up 500 jobs from March 2010 to 146,100; and Lake Charles, up 300 jobs over the year to 89,900. Baton Rouge's March job count was 362,200, down 2,500 over the year; and Monroe at 76,200 jobs, down 600 since March 2010.
A separate BLS survey of households shows a decrease in the seasonally adjusted number of people working -- a
reduction of 10,219 over the month and 19,035 over the year -- for a total of 1,907,808 in March. The household survey shows the civilian labor force - the number of people employed plus the number who are unemployed but looking for work - increased 773 over the year to 2,076,576. The number of unemployed in March was 168,768, up 3,918 from February.

Louisiana's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March 2011 was 8.1 percent, up from the revised February rate of 7.9 percent. Louisiana's unemployment rate was tied with Texas and New Mexico for 23rd lowest in the nation and was tied with Texas for fifth lowest in the South Region. The national rate in March was 8.8 percent, and the rate for the South Region was 9.0 percent.

Not seasonally adjusted unemployment figures are used to compare parishes and MSAs. Among the state's eight MSAs,
four held steady with the same unemployment rate as in February, three had slight increases in their unemployment rates, and one - Lake Charles - had a slight decrease. The state's not seasonally adjusted statewide rate for March was 8.0 percent, unchanged from February. The national unadjusted unemployment rate for March was 9.2 percent.

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