Unemployment rate rising in Louisiana’s big cities


Many of Louisiana’s major metro areas saw unemployment rates spike from December 2021 to December 2022, new data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows, even though the state saw record-low unemployment for much of the year.

Unemployment rates in all nine of Louisiana’s metropolitan areas also rose from November through December 2022, with the state seeing an increase in the unemployment rate for the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Economists and business leaders will closely monitor the unemployment rate throughout 2023 amid concerns about labor shortages and a possible recession.

More:Louisiana’s unemployment rate rose in December. Here’s what you should know

Here’s what you should know about unemployment rates in major Louisiana cities.

Where is unemployment growing fastest?

Greater Hammond, one of the smallest in the state by population, saw the largest increase between November and December. The rate rose from 3.6% to 4.2%.

Rates rose 0.4 percentage points in seven metro areas — Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Monroe, New Orleans-Metairie, Houma-Thibodaux and Shreveport-Bossier. Lake Charles saw the smallest increase, up 0.3 percentage points, rising from 2.7% to 3%.

Throughout 2022, Hammond had the biggest increase. In December 2021, the area had an unemployment rate of 2.6% and increased by 1.6 percentage points through December 2022. New Orleans-Metairie was up 0.9 points, followed by Shreveport-Bossier up 0.8 points.

Is the labor force in Louisiana cities shrinking?

In terms of the total number of employed persons, the country’s metropolitan areas are divided. Three of the state’s nine subways saw workforce declines from December 2021 to December 2022, and five saw workforce declines from November to December.

From December 2021 to December 2022, the Lafayette region saw the largest percentage decline, with its labor force losing nearly 1,700 people, or 2.1%. Hammond lost 1.4% of its workforce and Monroe about 0.04% during that period.

Data shows that nearly 20 percent of Louisiana children live in nutritionally insecure households

Lake Charles saw the largest gains over the period, up nearly 3,700, or 3.4%, followed by Shreveport-Bossier, up 1,844, or 2.8%. Houma-Thibodaux ranked third with an increase in the labor force of 800 workers, or 2%.

From November to December 2022, Monroe saw the largest percentage decline, down just over 1%. Both Alexandria and New Orleans-Metairie posted declines of 0.9%.

Houma-Thibodaux and Hammond led labor force growth over the month, each growing around 0.7%.

How do Louisiana’s cities compare to others?

Of the nearly 400 metro areas included in the BLS data, three metro areas in Louisiana ranked in the top 100 for percentage labor force growth from December 2021 to December 2022. Lake Charles ranked 31st and Shreveport-Bossier 56th .and Houma-Thibodaux in 99th place.

From November through December, three Louisiana metros were again in the top 100: Houma-Thibodaux was 31st, Hammond was 32nd, and Shreveport-Bossier was No. 100.

While the growing number of workers is usually a positive sign, many Louisiana metros are also seeing their unemployment rates growing faster than many metros nationwide. From December 2021 to December 2022, all nine metro areas of Louisiana were in the top 100 for unemployment rate increases.

For the annual increase, Hammond finished third, New Orleans-Metairie 24th, Shreveport-Bossier 33rd, Monroe 40th, Houma-Thibodaux 43rd, Lafayette 49th, Lake Charles 56th, Baton Rouge 57th and Alexandria 74th.

From November through December, all of the Louisiana metropolitan statistical areas were again in the top 100 for the fastest rising unemployment rates. Hammond finished 21st, Houma-Thibodaux 35th, New Orleans-Metairie 45th, Shreveport-Bossier 47th, Monroe 49th, Lafayette 51st, Baton Rouge 53rd, Alexandria 56th and Lake Charles 75th.

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