Private sector job creation lone silver lining

NEW ORLEANS, La. – Newly released data from the Louisiana Workforce Commission shows that the state’s unemployment rate has increased from 7.3 percent in May 2010 to 8.2 percent in May 2011, an increase of 12 percent. The national rate for May was 9.1 percent.

Since May 2007, Louisiana’s unemployment rate has increased 115 percent.

However, Louisiana recorded a gain of 10,100 non-farm jobs in May and had 19,000 more jobs than in May 2010. Louisiana Workforce Commission’s executive director Curt Eysink said the monthly job gain was the largest in May since 1990.

Patty Grenier, Labor Market Information manager at the Louisiana Workforce Commission, explains the apparent discrepancy between the rise in unemployment and the addition of new employment opportunities.

“With the unemployment rate you still have people entering the labor force looking for work, and at the same time you have employers that are filling positions, but they’re filling positions at a slower rate than in previous years.”

She also notes that in May and June, Louisiana routinely sees a rise in unemployment, since more young people are entering the labor force as a result of school letting out for the summer, and, “cafeteria workers, teachers, bus drivers, and support staff have applied for unemployment for the summer and/or applied for other jobs.”

Since May 2010, Louisiana has added 34,900 private sector jobs, while 15,900 government jobs have been cut.

However, according to Mrs. Grenier, in relation to government jobs, “almost half of the jobs that we lost were federal census workers, which every state is experiencing. Education and government payrolls have been shrinking since last year as well.”

According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, first time jobless claims fell 16 percent for the week ending June 11th, falling from 5,344 to 4,445. However, although initial claims have fallen, Louisianians are staying on unemployment insurance longer. The four week moving average of continued weeks on unemployment increased 2.2 percent to 44,399, up from the previous week’s average of 43,455.


Robert Ross is a researcher and social media strategist with the Pelican Institute for Public Policy. He can be contacted at, and you can follow him on twitter.