June’s Jobs Report Shows Slow Progress Towards Economic Recovery
Two weeks ago, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report showing that the nation added 850,000 jobs in June, beating expectations. This provided some hope that Louisiana would see similarly large gains in employment. While Louisiana did add jobs in June, the gains left a lot to be desired.
Louisiana added 6,700 jobs in June, well below the national average of just over 12,000. Compared to March of 2020, Louisiana is still missing 132,000 jobs. The jobs gains were primarily in Education and Health Services which added 5,500 jobs. Disappointingly, Louisiana only added 600 jobs in leisure and hospitality which is a major source of employment in the state.
This small increase was able to lower the state unemployment rate to 6.9 percent, but it remains an entire point above the national average.
Returning to pre-pandemic levels of employment will take some time if Louisiana is adding less than 10,000 jobs a month. Thankfully, the expanded unemployment benefits will be ending at the end of July which will hopefully encourage Louisiana to return to work.
Additionally, as election season draws near, voters will have the opportunity to overhaul the state’s tax structure and finally pull Louisiana out of the bottom 10 of State Business Tax Rankings.
Adding jobs is always better than the alternative, but if Louisiana wants to do better than the pre-pandemic status quo, reforms will be necessary to grow the economy and create jobs and opportunity.