Louisiana's unemployment rate is at record-low levels, but thousands are quitting their jobs

William Taylor Potter
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

Around 63,000 Louisiana workers quit their jobs in April — matching the total from March — as The Great Resignation born of the COVID pandemic continues.

An analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that around 244,000 Louisiana workers have quit their jobs through April, the highest number for the four months of a year going back to at least 2012.

Around 33,000 more workers have quit so far this year than in the first four months of 2021, a difference of about 15.6%.

Louisiana has followed a nationwide trend of workers leaving their jobs since the onset of the pandemic.

Whether it be to serve as a caretaker for a family member or to pursue other opportunities, workers in Louisiana and across the country have been leaving their jobs in droves.

At the same time, Louisiana has seen its unemployment rate drop to record-low levels, which is partially a result of people leaving the workforce. The state's unemployment rate was 4%, which tied the lowest ever recorded.

Labor shortage:Lafayette businesses continue to experience labor shortages amid nationwide economic woes

“Louisiana continues to see historically low unemployment, and our communities are flourishing with opportunity once again,” Louisiana Workforce Commission Secretary Ava Cates said in a press release. “We know there are workforce needs to be met, and that’s why we’re focused on building the skills of workers around the state. When the workforce thrives, our whole state thrives.”

Compared to some other states, Louisiana has not been hit particularly hard by the rapid spread of resignations. Louisiana ranks 20th among U.S. states and Washington, D.C., in percent change in resignations from April 2021 to April 2022 with 14.6%. Nebraska has seen the most growth with 36%, the data shows.

Even as the high rate of resignations continues, Louisiana businesses are firing and laying off fewer workers than they have in the last decade. In April, the state had around 16,000 workers get laid off, fired or otherwise leave their jobs involuntarily, according to the BLS. That number was down around 2,000 or 11.1% from March.

More:Louisiana shoppers paying 12% more than January 2021. Is it tied to low unemployment?

So far in 2022, around 72,000 workers in Louisiana have been laid off or fired, which is by far the fewest recorded for the first four months of a year going back to at least 2012. Layoffs and firings are down around 18,000 or 20% from the same period last year.

Hirings in April were also higher than they were a year ago in Louisiana, but they fell sharply from March. Around 89,000 people were hired in Louisiana in April, according to the BLS, which was around 10,000 — or 10.1% — fewer than in March. In April 2021, around 81,000 people were hired across the state.

Louisiana isn't alone in seeing hirings fall from March. Thirty states saw their hiring numbers decline from March, with Louisiana seeing the fifth largest decline by percentage. Michigan had the sharpest drop with 16.3%.

The data also indicates that many businesses in Louisiana are still trying to hire workers. In April, the state had around 152,000 job openings, according to BLS data, which was around 3,000 more than March and 38,000 more than in April 2021.

Through April, the state has had 590 job openings, which is significantly higher than the first four months of any other year since at least 2012. The state has had around 171,000 more job openings in 2022 than in the first four months of 2021, a difference of about 40.8%.