Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the latest state unemployment numbers. Headlines showing that the unemployment rate decreased from 4 percent to 3.8 percent might have grabbed attention, but the overall report painted a less rosy picture of the Louisiana economy.

Even though the unemployment rate decreased in Louisiana, the number of people working in the state actually decreased from May to June. The latest report showed that there are 5,800 fewer Louisianans who were working from May to June with the largest losses being 3,500 in and 2,200 jobs lost in the leisure and hospitality sector.

These decreases don’t signal doom for the Louisiana economy, but it indicates that the period of rapid job growth and people returning to work is likely coming to an end. A lack of new jobs would be far more tolerable if Louisiana had the lower unemployment rate of some of its neighbors. For example, Alabama has an unemployment rate of 2.6 percent and Arkansas has a rate of 3.2 percent.

States that were able to properly recover from the economic damage of COVID-19 will be in a better position to weather the likely coming economic storm. This will be critical as the nation’s gross domestic product report that will be released this week will likely confirm that the country is in a recession.

If Louisiana wants to find itself in a similar position to its neighboring states, it should consider some of the reforms to areas like the tax code that have led to economic success.