July Jobs Report Brings Good News for Louisiana
Despite sky-high inflation and other economic concerns, July was a good month for Louisiana job seekers. Approximately 13,700 Louisianans found a job in July, the largest job growth the state has seen in a long time. The sectors which saw the largest job increases were professional and business services which increased by 6,700 followed by 3,800 jobs added in government and 2,700 jobs added in education and health services.
This increase brought the unemployment rate to 3.6% which is the lowest it has been in Louisiana since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started tracking that metric in 1976. This remarkable report was surprising as more than 28 states saw flat job growth over the last month.
Despite the overall good news, there is still reason for caution. All of Louisiana’s neighbors outside of Mississippi and Texas have lower unemployment than the Pelican State. Both Alabama and Georgia have unemployment rates of less than 3%.
In addition, Louisiana has still yet to return to pre-pandemic job levels. The state had 1.99 million workers in February of 2022. Today the number is 1.92 meaning, there are approximately 70,000 fewer people working in Louisiana today compared to two and a half years ago.
There are also reasons to believe the increase in jobs may not continue in the long term. Given the overall bullish job market, including a surprisingly strong national jobs report, the Federal Reserve may decide that the strong job market can withstand additional interest rate hikes to curb inflation. This would likely cause employers to limit hiring, potentially increasing the number of unemployed Louisianans.
Nonetheless, the people of Louisiana should be pleased with this job report. If the state continues to pass key reforms in education, occupational licensing, and taxes, Louisiana could find itself competing with its neighboring states rather than lagging behind.