Number of employed in Louisiana continues to rise in COVID-19 recovery

Preliminary data for May 2021 released today by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) shows that Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted number of employed individuals rose both over the month and over the year. The May estimate of 1,923,028 shows an increase of 3,505 from the April 2021 revised figure of 1,919,523. The data also shows an increase of 151,282 individuals from the May 2020 figure of 1,771,746.

Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted number of unemployed declined both over the month and over the year. The May 2021 estimate of 146,333 shows a decline of 3,003 individuals from the April revised figure of 149,336. The data also shows a decline of 121,605 in the number of unemployed from the May 2020 figure of 267,938.

The May 2021 seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 7.1 percent also shows a decline both over the month and over the year. The rate dropped 0.1 percentage points from the revised April 2021 rate of 7.2 percent, and 6 percentage points from the May 2020 rate of 13.1 percent.

The May 2021 seasonally adjusted civilian labor force, or the number of people employed or looking for work, is 2,069,361, an increase of 502 from the April 2021 figure of 2,068,859. The series is also up 29,677 individuals from the May 2020 figure of 2,039,684.

“We know the toll the COVID-19 pandemic took on our state, but we’re making great strides putting the people of Louisiana back to work.” said Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) Secretary Ava Cates. “We know there are challenges ahead, but since May of last year more than 150,000 Louisianans have gone back to work, and that’s a number we’re proud of. We are heading in the right direction.”

As Louisiana’s economy continues to show signs of improvement, LWC is focused on getting people back to work. Currently there are thousands of jobs listed on the HiRE site, which allows individuals to file for unemployment benefits and search for available jobs in their area.

Seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment for May 2021 shows a gain of 96,400 jobs from the May 2020 figure of 1,732,800 to 1,829,200. Nonfarm employment showed a decline of 4,700 from the April 2021 estimate of 1,833,900.

Seasonally adjusted total private employment rose by 95,600 jobs from the May 2020 figure of 1,421,300 to 1,516,900. Total private employment lost 3,800 jobs from the April 2021 figure of 1,520,700.

Industries that showed the largest gains for seasonally adjusted jobs from May 2020:

• Leisure and Hospitality gained 46,400 jobs from May 2020.

• Trade, Transportation, and Utilities gained 18,900 jobs from May 2020.

• Professional and Business Services gained 12,400 jobs from May 2020.

• Education and Health Services gained 11,100 jobs from May 2020.

• Other Services gained 9,200 jobs from April 2020.

Among Louisiana’s MSAs in May 2021, seasonally adjusted data shows:

• Alexandria (59,900 jobs) showed no change from April 2021, but gained 3,000 jobs from May 2020.

• Baton Rouge (385,500 jobs) showed no change from April 2021, but gained 23,500 jobs from May 2020.

• Hammond (45,700 jobs) added 200 jobs from April 2021 and gained 3,400 jobs from May 2020.

• Houma (82,800 jobs) added 600 jobs from April 2021 and gained 4,400 jobs from May 2020.

• Lafayette (190,800 jobs) added 400 jobs from April 2021 and gained 7,700 jobs from May 2020.

• Lake Charles (92,900 jobs) added 600 jobs from April 2021, but lost 400 jobs from May 2020.

• Monroe (74,300 jobs) gained 300 jobs from April 2021 and gained 4,300 jobs from May 2020.

• New Orleans (523,100 jobs) lost 100 jobs from April 2021, but gained 35,800 jobs from May 2020.

• Shreveport (166,700 jobs) lost 300 jobs from April 2021, but gained 9,400 jobs from May 2020.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Data

Since May 2020, not seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment increased by 97,300 jobs from 1,739,200 to 1,836,500 in May 2021. When compared to April 2021, not seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment increased by 600 jobs.

Since May 2020, not seasonally adjusted private sector employment increased by 95,800 jobs from 1,425,300 to 1,521,100 in May 2021. When compared to April 2021, not seasonally adjusted private sector employment increased by 1,500 jobs.

Louisiana’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for May 2021 is 6.7 percent, a decrease of 6.8 percentage points from the May 2020 not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 13.5 percent. The rate is unchanged from April 2021.

Since May 2020, the number of not seasonally adjusted employed individuals increased by 165,343 from 1,766,669 to 1,932,012 in May 2021. When compared to April 2021, the number of not seasonally adjusted employed individuals increased by 8,265.

Since May 2020, the number of not seasonally adjusted unemployed individuals decreased by 136,787 from 275,240 to 138,453 in May 2021. When compared to April 2021, the number of not seasonally adjusted unemployed individuals increased by 1,179 individuals.

March metropolitan statistical area (MSA) and parish unemployment rates will be released on June 29, 2021. The 2021 state and MSA data release dates schedule is now available, to view 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.

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