La. unemployment rate hits 3-year low; still one of the highest nationwide

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Louisiana's unemployment rate has hit a three-year low, though still ranks as one of the highest nationwide.

The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Louisiana's unemployment rate hitting 5.5 percent in June, the lowest level since February of 2014.

"We've seen the turnaround in numerous sectors. In fact, this month we reached all-time high in three sectors," said Ava Dejoie, executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

Dejoie says jobs in the hospitality, healthcare, and construction industries are driving the rebound. "Statewide, construction is at an all-time high," Dejoie said. "So we have more people employed in construction than we've ever had in construction, even after Hurricane Katrina.

Much of the construction work, she says, centers on upgrading and overhauling heavy industry. In the Baton Rouge area, Dejoie says construction jobs are up, though have tapered off in the past month.

She says the boom may have partially been the result of construction after the August 2016 flood. However, she mentioned that jobs may rebound again once Community Development Block gr ant (CDBG) dollars are distributed.

Overall, there are 2,500 more jobs in Baton Rouge compared to last year.

Still, things are not all rosy. The mining and logging industry in Louisiana, which includes the oil and gas sector, lost approximately 2,100 jobs compared to this time last year. Several communities are also down jobs compared to June of 2016, including Alexandria, Houma, Lafayette, and Shreveport.

Although it may be good by recent standards in Louisiana, 5.5 percent is also one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows it to be the fourth highest nationwide, behind just the District of Columbia, New Mexico, and Alaska.

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