Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Report says unemployment claims in Louisiana had the sixth-largest drop nationally

by BIZ Magazine

By Victor Skinner | The Center Square contributor

New unemployment claims in Louisiana dropped significantly in late July despite raging inflation and a looming recession, according to a new analysis.

The personal finance website WalletHub analyzed unemployment figures for the week of July 25 and found Louisiana posted the sixth biggest decrease in the U.S. with a 20.25% reduction over the week prior.

“To identify where unemployment claims are decreasing the most even amid costly inflation, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on changes in unemployment claims for several key benchmark weeks,” according to the report. “We also considered the number of claims per 100,000 people in the labor force.”

The data showed Louisiana’s unemployment claims were down 6.53% compared the same week in 2019, before the pandemic, while claims were down 41.45% from the same week in 2021. The state’s rate of 89 claims per 100,000 in the labor force was in the middle nationally, ranked 26th.

“Among West South Central states, Louisiana’s unemployment claims have experienced the sixth biggest decrease in the U.S. For the week of July 25, Louisiana had 1,890 new unemployment claims, a 20% decrease from the previous week,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “On the other hand, unemployment claims in Oklahoma have experienced a 66% increase for the same time period.”

All states bordering Louisiana experienced a decrease in unemployment claims versus the week prior, with Texas claims dropping 6.63%, Mississippi down 21.25%, and Arkansas’ reduction of 19.58%.

Those decreases buck a national trend of slightly increasing claims week-over-week on July 25, with a total of about 5.9 million Americans unemployed. WalletHub predicts that could change with the Fed’s most recent interest rate hike and looming recession.

“The Fed’s most recent interest rate hike will affect unemployment. Essentially, higher interest rates might lower consumer spending and business investments, which could lead to a reduction in hiring and an increase in unemployment,” Gonzalez said. “Since the cost of borrowing will also now be higher, it could also have a direct impact on employees’ personal finances. Combined, it’s not a very good outlook in terms of unemployment numbers in the short term.”

While Louisiana unemployment continues to decline, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ State Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary shows large numbers of residents are quitting their jobs.

The May jobs data in the summary marked the third consecutive month of more than 60,000 Louisiana workers quitting their jobs, contributing to a record 300,000 in the state who quit through the first five months of 2022. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show only two states posted increases in resignations between April and May.

At the same time, the number of nonfarm job openings has steadily grown from 146,000 in February to 160,000 in May. Louisiana’s job openings rate of 7.7% makes it one of only eight states with rates above 7.6%. Nationally, the rate is 6.9%. Louisiana’s 36.8% increase in job openings over the last year is among the biggest in the nation, behind only California and Massachusetts.

Unsurprisingly, layoffs and discharges are at record lows, with 19,000 in May at about the same level as May 2021.

The 91,000 workers fired or laid off across the state so far in 2022 is about 20,000 fewer than through the first five months of 2021, according to the Daily Advertiser.

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