The December state jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed Louisiana was one of the 40 states to make significant gains in employment adding 8,500 jobs from October to November. This comes on the heels of the national jobs report where more than 210,000 new jobs were added in November, bringing the national unemployment to 4.2 percent.

In Louisiana, the biggest gains were in leisure and hospitality, which added 2,700 jobs; education and health services, which added 2,300 jobs; and manufacturing, which added 1,700 jobs. This increase in jobs caused Louisiana’s unemployment rate to decrease from 5.4 percent to 5.1 percent though that’s still nearly a point above the national average.

Since this is the last jobs report of the year it's worth examining the trends for 2021. From November 2020 to 2021, Louisiana added 34,600 jobs. Leisure and hospitality saw the biggest gain with 12,200 followed by professional and business services and education and health services at 10,200 and 8,200 respectively.

Unfortunately, unemployment wasn’t the only thing that decreased in 2021.  The civilian labor force, defined as those working or looking for work, decreased by 34,000 people. This means that for roughly every Louisianan that found a job, another quit looking for work altogether.

With the American economy dealing with inflation not seen in decades and supply chain issues, it’s not inconceivable that America will endure slower economic growth than it saw in 2021. If that’s the case, Louisiana will need to make crucial reforms to strengthen its economy and return jobs and opportunity to the state.