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Unemployment rate drops 1.3%, number of unemployed falls

People who lost their jobs wait in line to file for unemployment following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease, at an Arkansas Workforce Center in Fayetteville, Ark., on April 6, 2020.Nick Oxford / Reuters file

Preliminary data for December 2020 released today by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics shows that the number of seasonally adjusted unemployed individuals dropped from the November 2020 figure.

Posted: Jan 26, 2021 11:01 AM

BATON ROUGE – Preliminary data for December 2020 released today by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) shows that the number of seasonally adjusted unemployed individuals was 151,160, a drop of 26,871 from the November 2020 figure of 178,031. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate also declined over the month by 1.3 percentage points to 7.2%. This is the lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the state since March 2020.

Since November 2020, the number of seasonally adjusted employed individuals increased by 31,456 from 1,910,222 to 1,941,678 in December 2020. From December 2019, the number of seasonally adjusted employed individuals decreased by 51,530.

The civilian labor force, or the number of people employed or looking for work, rose to 2,092,838, a gain of 4,585 from November 2020. The series is down 9,367 individuals from the December 2019 figure of 2,102,205.

Seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment also grew over the month, adding 4,000 jobs from November to 1,901,200 for December 2020. This is the highest employment level since the Covid-19 pandemic began. Nonfarm employment is down 82,700 jobs from the December 2019 figure of 1,983,900.

Seasonally adjusted total private employment rose by 2,700 jobs to 1,577,900 from November 2020’s figure of 1,575,200. Total private employment is down 74,000 jobs from the December 2019 figure of 1,651,900.

"Louisiana weathered a global pandemic and multiple hurricanes in 2020,” said Louisiana Workforce Commission Secretary Ava Dejoie. "The job gains we are witnessing shows the resiliency of the people of Louisiana. Storm recovery and the potential of the newly released Covid-19 vaccines point to a much brighter 2021.”

Among Louisiana’s MSAs in December 2020, seasonally adjusted data shows:

• Alexandria gained 200 jobs from November 2020, but lost 2,100 jobs from December 2019.

• Baton Rouge lost 600 jobs from November 2020 and lost 18,200 jobs from December 2019.

• Hammond gained 400 jobs from November 2020, but lost 2,300 jobs from December 2019.

• Houma lost 1,100 jobs from November 2020 and lost 2,900 jobs from December 2019.

• Lafayette gained 500 jobs from November 2020, but lost 7,500 jobs from December 2019.

• Lake Charles gained 1,000 jobs from November 2020, but lost 14,700 jobs from December 2019.

• Monroe gained 300 jobs from November 2020 and gained 1,600 jobs from December 2019.

• New Orleans gained 1,000 jobs from November 2020, but lost 45,200 jobs from December 2019.

• Shreveport gained 1,200 jobs from November 2020, but lost 5,100 jobs from December 2019.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Data

Since November 2020, not seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment increased by 3,700 jobs from 1,908,000 to 1,911,700 in December 2020. When compared to December 2019, not seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment decreased by 83,200 jobs.

Since November 2020, not seasonally adjusted private sector employment increased by 5,400 jobs from 1,579,500 to 1,584,900 in December 2020. When compared to December 2019, not seasonally adjusted private sector employment decreased by 74,300 jobs.

Louisiana’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December 2020 is 6.9 percent, a decrease of 1.3 percentage points from November 2020’s revised not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 8.2 percent. The December 2019 rate is 4.9 percent.

Since November 2020, the number of not seasonally adjusted employed individuals increased by 18,110 from 1,918,962 to 1,937,072 in December 2020. When compared to December 2019, the number of not seasonally adjusted employed individuals decreased by 50,947.

Since November 2020, the number of not seasonally adjusted unemployed individuals decreased by 29,926 from 172,445 to 142,519 in December 2020. When compared to December 2019, the number of not seasonally adjusted unemployed individuals increased by 39,538.

November metropolitan statistical area (MSA) and parish unemployment rates will be released on February 2, 2021. The 2021 state and MSA data release dates schedule is now available, please click here.

Seasonally Adjusted vs. Not Seasonally Adjusted Data

Jobs and employment trends data are often difficult to understand because there are two different ways to look at the data, seasonally or non-seasonally adjusted data.

Seasonal adjustment works to measure and remove the influences of predictable seasonal patterns to reveal how employment and unemployment figures change from month to month. Not seasonally adjusted data retains seasonal employment trends.

Over the course of a year, the labor force size, available jobs and employment rates undergo predictable fluctuations due to seasonal changes in weather, harvests, major holidays, and school schedules. Seasonal adjustment reduces the impact of these changes, making it easier to understand trends. Seasonally adjusted data is best utilized when comparing several months of employment and jobs data, while not seasonally adjusted data is best used to compare over-the-year trends. Seasonally adjusted data are useful for comparisons among states and the nation.

The Louisiana Workforce Commission primarily uses seasonally adjusted data because it provides a more useful and telling picture of Louisiana’s jobs and employment situation.

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.

Data Considerations

All data published from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is preliminary and is subject to revision on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. Revised numbers for previous months are available from the BLS databases located on bls.gov. The revised numbers are available upon release of new data.

Resources for Employers and Job Seekers

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 http://www.laworks.net. Click on HiRE (Helping Individuals Reach Employment) and create an account allowing access to qualified job seekers.

About the Louisiana Workforce Commission

The Louisiana Workforce Commission is an agency of state government that administers programs designed to enhance workforce growth and provide family-sustaining jobs for Louisiana residents. The commission monitors employment, administers unemployment compensation and tax funds, provides training resources for employers and employees and oversees worker compensation benefits. The agency also gathers and supplies information on the labor market and occupational sectors in Louisiana.

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