This hasn’t been a year of positive news. Over the last few months, however, there have been some bright spots for Louisiana and the nation’s economies, as they have been steadily moving in the right direction.

But, the latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics has some sobering news for those who expected Louisiana’s positive trend to continue. The state unemployment rate increased for the first time since February and now sits at 8.1 percent.

This wasn’t the only troubling news, as the number of Louisianans working or looking for work, also known as the civilian labor force, decreased by more than 11,500. This was driven by 4,500 job losses in government, 3,500 losses in education and health services, and 1,900 losses in leisure and hospitality.

The rest of the South suffered losses as well. Texas experienced a 1.5 percent increase in unemployment rates, while Alabama, Georgia, and Florida also saw increases in the rates. The civilian labor forces in all these states also dipped during this period.

While this may be a bump in the road on the way to economic recovery, it’s important to note there is still a long way to go. Regardless, these stats underscore the need for changes to the approach in states like Louisiana. From its unpredictable state budget process, overly complex tax code, and burdensome legal climate, the systems in place in Louisiana make the chances of a speedy recovery much less likely.

Absent a safe and predictable reopening of businesses coupled with fundamental reforms to encourage the return of jobs and opportunity to the state, Louisiana seems to have simply too many potholes on its road to economic recovery.