A decrease in the number of employed boosted the January rate, even though that decline was less than the number added to the jobless numbers. Some 20,143 were employed in January, down from 20,801 in December; the number of unemployed climbed from 1,839 to 2,069.
The parish’s jobless rate was 11 percent in January 2011, with 20,388 employed and 2,525 jobless.
Neighboring Assumption Parish returned to double-digit unemployment in January, at 11.5 percent. Some 8,862 were employed, while 1,146 were jobless. December’s rate was down to 9.7 percent, with 9,245 employed and 996 jobless; January 2011’s rate was 13 percent.
Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes, which comprise the Houma-Thibodaux-Bayou Cane Metropolitan Statistical Area, again posted the lowest unemployment rates in the state, though they tied with Lafayette Parish. Each of those parishes, as well as the Houma MSA overall, posted a 5.3 percent unemployment rate.
The Lafayette MSA, which also includes St. Martin Parish, had a combined unemployment rate of 5.5 percent. St. Martin’s jobless rate was 6.7 percent; no separate calculation is made for Lower St. Martin.
Iberia Parish recorded 7.1 percent unemployment in January.
Unemployment rates among parishes similar in size to St. Mary included St. Charles, 6.7 percent; St. John the Baptist, 8.9; Acadia, 6.5; Lincoln, 8.7; Vermilion, 7.1; Vernon, 7.6; and Webster, 7.9.
Double-digit unemployment persists in Morehouse, East Carroll, West Carroll, Richland, Tensas, Franklin, Madison, Catahoula, Iberville, St. Helena, St. James and Washington parishes.
Statewide, Louisiana gained 7,800 non-farm private sector jobs in January.
The state labor department released the latest employment statistics Tuesday afternoon.
In addition to the one-month gain, the state added 39,900 private sector jobs over the past year. That marked the 20th consecutive month of year-to-year growth, the department said.
The unemployment rate increased — which the department stressed was not adjusted for seasonal factors — from 6.6 percent in December to 7.5 percent in January. “Again, this 0.9 percent increase over the month reflects those not working during semester breaks on college campuses and reductions to retail staffs following the holiday season,” said the report from the department known as the Louisiana Workforce Commission.
The report said that the Lafayette metropolitan area had the largest job growth among metro areas with an increase of 10,300 seasonally unadjusted nonfarm jobs over the past 12 months. “This was followed by over-the-year increases in New Orleans (8,300 jobs), Houma (4,700 jobs), Baton Rouge (2,700 jobs), Shreveport (1,200 jobs), Monroe (900 jobs), and Lake Charles (400 jobs). Alexandria was the only MSA to post a decline over the past 12 months with losses totaling 1,100 nonfarm jobs,” the report said.
“These are the first reports that show the growth we experienced statewide last year is continuing into 2012,” said LWC Executive Director Curt Eysink. “It is also very positive that Louisiana’s strong performance against the south and the nation is also continuing in 2012.”