Thursday, June 20, 2024

Louisiana sees strong jobs growth ahead of new workforce secretary’s arrival

by BIZ Magazine

By Wes Muller, Louisiana Illuminator

Gov. John Bel Edwards appointed a new labor secretary Friday and touted strong jobs growth for the state’s economy.

Robert Wooley will take over the Workforce Commission from Ave Dejoie Cates, who will resign effective Aug. 31. 

The commission released data Friday showing Louisiana’s unemployment rate fell in July to 3.4%, the lowest rate ever recorded for the month. The rate shows a decrease of 0.2 percentage points from the June 2023 figure of 3.6% and decreased by 0.1 percentage points from July 2022 figure of 3.5%.

“Our hard, bipartisan work to grow and diversify our economy and create jobs is paying off,” Edwards said in a press release. “I want to once again thank departing LWC Secretary Ava Cates, who has overseen regularly record-breaking employment figures as Louisiana comes back strong from devastating hurricanes and the COVID pandemic. I am confident that LWC is in good hands with new Secretary Robert Wooley. He has a long career in public service, including his recent role as LWC’s assistant secretary of the Unemployment Insurance Administration through the most difficult days of COVID.”

Wooley is an attorney who was named acting state insurance commission in 2000 after office holder Jim Brown was indicted. He was elected to the post in 2003 and resigned in 2006 to take a position with a Baton Rouge law firm. 

Wooley will start Sept. 1 at the Louisiana Workforce Commission. 

“I would like to commend Secretary Cates for the tremendous amount of work she has done at the LWC over the past eight years,” Wooley said in a statement. “She has fulfilled the agency’s mission of putting people back to work, with more Louisiana citizens employed than ever. Sec. Cates has implemented and grown many programs throughout her tenure. Louisiana has endured many disasters, and she worked diligently around the clock to ensure that our citizens had the resources they needed. I am thankful for this opportunity and I look forward to continuing the agency’s mission.”

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