Surge In Workers Keeps Pushing Up LA Jobless Rate
BATON ROUGE (AP) – Louisiana's unemployment rate rose for the seventh straight month in November, and what had been strong growth in employer payrolls waned.
The state's jobless rate rose to 6.5 percent, as growth in job seekers continued to outstrip increases in the number of people reporting they have jobs. The unemployment rate was 6.2 percent in October and 5.6 percent in November 2013.
The figures — adjusted to cancel out seasonal changes — were released Friday by the U.S. Labor Department.
Louisiana's labor force rose by 14,500 people, while 7,100 more people reported having jobs. Both the workforce, 2.18 million people, and the number of people reporting jobs, 2.04 million, hit records in November.
"The main reason Louisiana's unemployment rate has risen is the speed of the growth of the labor force," Louisiana Workforce Commission Executive Director Curt Eysink said in a statement. "Our job growth is strong but the growth in our labor force is even stronger."
The report counted 142,000 unemployed Louisianans in November, above 135,000 in October and 117,000 in November 2013.
Unemployment rates fell in 41 states in November, rose in three and were flat in six. Mississippi had the worst jobless rate at 7.6 percent. North Dakota retained the nation's lowest jobless rate at 2.7 percent.
The national unemployment rate stayed flat at 5.8 percent from October to November, down from 7 percent in November 2013.
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 payrolls fell by 2,600 in November to 1.99 million. That was the first monthly drop since January and ending six months of record-high readings. Still, payrolls remain more than 20,000 above November 2013's level of 1.96 million. Louisiana payrolls have risen 6 percent since bottoming out in early 2010 and are 2.3 percent above pre-recession levels.
Payroll employment fell in November in economic sectors including education and health services, construction and government. Payrolls fell in Louisiana sectors including trade, transportation and utilities; professional and business services; leisure and hospitality; financial activities and manufacturing.
The broadest measure of those who are unemployed averaged 11 percent in Louisiana from October 2013 through September 2014, the most recent figures released. That includes people looking for work only sporadically, who have given up looking or who work part time because they can't find a full-time job.
Nationwide, that broad measure averaged 12.6 percent during the same period.
– by AP Reporter Jeff Amy