Baton Rouge area employment outperforming nation

Staff reports

BATON ROUGE – The Baton Rouge Area Chamber announced that the Capital Region economy’s unemployment rate remained stable, with no change from March to April, and only experienced a modest decline in jobs for the same time period.

The area was led by East Baton Rouge Parish at 5.0 percent unemployment, followed by Ascension and Livingston, at 5.1 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively.  

The Louisiana Workforce Commissions monthly labor market information report notes that the Baton Rouge area’s unemployment rate in April remained at 5.2 percent. The region continued to outperform the state rate of 5.7 percent and the national rate of 8.6 percent for April.

The LWC also reported that total year-over-year employment in the Baton Rouge area increased by 800 jobs.

“We are pleased to see the unemployment rate remaining stable, as well as job gains for the twelve-month period,” said Adam Knapp, BRAC president and CEO. “The ability of the Baton Rouge area’s economy to remain stable during the overall downturn nationally and internationally remains one of the best competitive advantages for our area, and we continue to believe it will position us well for long-term growth.”

Louisiana’s employment picture continued to outperform the nation in April despite a drop in nonfarm jobs, according to the LWC.

Seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs in Louisiana declined by 8,300 from April 2008 to April 2009, bringing the total number of jobs in the state to 1,931,800. Over the month, the state experienced a 7,000 nonfarm employment drop.

The April unemployment rate ranked Louisiana ninth lowest in the nation.

Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted April unemployment rate was 6.2 percent, up from the March 2009 revised rate of 5.8 percent and the year-ago figure of 4.1 percent. The April  unemployment rate for the U.S. was 8.9 percent, up from 8.5 percent in March.

“We’re more focused on trends than we are on any single month, and Louisiana continues to do bette r than the nation as a whole, as it has for well over a year,” LWC Executive Director Tim Barfield said. “However, the longer the nation’s economy struggles, the more drag it will have on our economy and labor market and it is clear that we are not immune.”

Louisiana’s civilian labor force – the number of people working or looking for work – for April was 2,074,611, up from the March revised figure of 2,070,503. The number of employed in April was 1,946,270, down slightly from 1,949,824 in March. The number of unemployed in Louisiana in April rose to 128,341 from 120,679 in March. Civilian labor force statistics are estimated from a sample survey by place of residence.

Preliminary seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment by sector for April was as follows: construction, 140,100, up from 138,500 employed in March; manufacturing, 147,100, up from 147,000; other services, 70,400, up from 69,100; trade, transportation, and utilities, 378,800, down from 381,200; information, 27,600, down from 27,700; financial activities, 92,300, down from 93,400; professional and business services, 201,700, down from 204,300; education and health services, 258,300, down from 259,200; leisure and hospitality, 197,300, down from 199,800; government, 365,300, down 100 over the month; and mining and logging (formerly natural resources and mining), 52,900, down from 53,200.