As we put 2019 in the rear view and the last economic news from the previous decade trickles in, one thing is becoming clear – much like it was at the start of the decade, Louisiana is struggling.

The latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that the Pelican State’s unemployment rate is continuing its upward climb. According to the BLS, the preliminary unemployment rate for December 2019 was 4.9 percent, which is .2 percent higher than November’s unemployment rate and .4 percent higher than October’s rate. This 4.9 percent rate is the same as it was in December 2018, or in other words, we’ve made no movement in curbing unemployment over the last year.

Nationally, the unemployment rate continues to sit at 3.5 percent, with many states achieving record lows in unemployment.

Moving beyond the rates, the BLS reports more than 103,000 Louisianans are looking for work but are unable to find a job. This number has increased by a nearly astonishing 10,000 since October.

By contrast, Alabama added more than 45,000 jobs over the last year, while Tennessee added nearly 50,000.

Louisiana’s increased unemployment wasn’t a part of a larger national trend, as the latest report shows that 11 states had lower unemployment rates in December 2019. Only four states had higher rates, with Louisiana earning the largest increase of all states. Is it any wonder why jobs were listed as the largest reason for people moving out of the state in 2019?

Instead of Louisiana taking part in this booming economy, it continues to lose ground to the rest of the nation. This is in large part due to a broken status quo that is in desperate need of reform. Taxes, our broken legal system and education all need major overhauls if the state truly wants to chart a better path moving forward.

With the legislature starting in a little over a month, let’s hope the road to jobs and opportunity starts this year.