The last time the unemployment rate was lower was in May 2008.

Per revisions from Bureau of Labor & Statistics (BLS) annual benchmarking procedure, Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 4.6 percent in January. Compared to January 2017, this figure is down 1.2 percent. This is 0.1 percentage points lower from December’s revised benchmarked figure of 4.7 percent. The last time the unemployment rate was lower was in May 2008.

Benchmarking is the BLS’s adjustments to prior years’ data. During this procedure, survey data, used to prepare monthly reports on nonfarm employment, the labor force and unemployment rates is replaced by the actual employment data contained in the quarterly wage and tax reports filed by Louisiana employers.

Seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment increased by 500 to 1,970,600 from January 2017. This is the fourth straight over-the-year gain. Compared to December 2017, this figure is up 300. From January 2017, seasonally adjusted private employment increased by 3,500 jobs to 1,645,400. This is also the fourth straight over-the-year gain. Since December 2017, the number of seasonally adjusted private-sector jobs increased 700.

The pre-benchmark annual average for seasonally adjusted non-farm data for 2017 was 1,979,300. With the benchmark revisions, the number now stands at 1,970,800. The pre-benchmark annual average for seasonally adjusted private sector employment was 1,657,500. With the benchmark revisions, that figure is now 1,643,700.

“Returning job seekers to the workplace remains an upmost priority of our agency,” said LWC Executive Director Ava Dejoie. “This latest data underscores the ongoing efforts to reduce unemployment throughout Louisiana, and we will forge ahead with the same steadfast commitment to reinforce our state’s labor market.”

The seasonally adjusted civilian labor force, or the number of people who are employed in addition to those looking for work increased by 10,252 to 2,120,732 since January 2017. From December 2017, it increased by 5,196.

The number of seasonally adjusted employed individuals increased by 35,545 from January 2017. When comparing data from December 2017, the number of employed individuals has increased by 8,262. Compared to January 2017, the number of unemployed individuals decreased by 25,293. From December 2017, the number of unemployed individuals decreased by 3,066.

Seasonally adjusted data are useful for comparisons among states and the nation. Not-seasonally adjusted data are useful for comparing trends in parishes and metropolitan statistical areas, and for comparing them to the state. To view all available employment data, visit Louisiana’s employment homepage at http://www.laworks.net  and select Labor Market Information from the top-right menu. Then, select LOIS (Louisiana Occupational Information System) and select Employment and Wage Data listed under Data Trends. To view the BLS Local Area Unemployment Statistics for the state, visit http://data.bls.gov/pdq/querytool.jsp?survey=la. For BLS nonfarm employment data, click here: http://data.bls.gov/pdq/querytool.jsp?survey=sm.

Job-seekers can explore careers, apply for top-rated jobs and connect with local training providers using Louisiana Star Jobs, the LWC’s free career tool, at http://www.laworks.net/Stars/. Employers looking for workers should visit Louisiana’s employment homepage at www.laworks.net. Click on HiRE (Helping Individuals Reach Employment) and create an account allowing access to qualified job seekers.

Contributed by La. Workforce Commission