Advocate Staff and Wire Report

Louisiana added 21,800 nonfarm jobs over the past 12 months, while the state’s unemployment rate edged up for the seventh straight month in November to 6.5 percent as even more people sought work.

“The sustained growth in Louisiana’s labor force is dramatic,” said Curt Eysink, Louisiana Workforce Commission executive director. “People are responding to Louisiana’s strong and sustained job growth by joining our workforce in record numbers to pursue these new opportunities.”

State employment stood at 1,985,200 in November, according to a report released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Figures are preliminary and were adjusted to cancel out seasonal changes.

Louisiana payrolls fell by 2,600 from October. That was the first monthly drop since January and ended six months of record-high readings. Still, payrolls remain more than 20,000 above November 2013’s level of 1.96 million. Louisiana payrolls have risen 6 percent since bottoming out in early 2010 and are 2.3 percent above pre-recession levels.

The state’s jobless rate of 6.5 percent was up from 6.2 percent in October and 5.6 percent in November 2013. The national unemployment rate in November was 5.8 percent, as was the 17-state South regional average rate.

“The main reason Louisiana’s unemployment rate has risen is the speed of the growth of the labor force. Our job growth is strong but the growth in our labor force is even stronger,” Eysink said.

Louisiana’s civilian labor force reached a record 2,179,800 in November — 14,500 more than October and 84,500 more than a year earlier. There were 142,000 people looking for work in November, which was 7,400 more than in October and 25,200 more than a year earlier.

Unemployment rates fell in 41 states in November, rose in three and were flat in six, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Mississippi had the worst jobless rate at 7.6 percent. North Dakota retained the nation’s lowest jobless rate at 2.7 percent.

The BLS uses a monthly survey of 750 households to estimate the civilian labor force, the total number of people employed plus those looking for work.

A separate BLS survey of 6,000 employers across industries and the state found that Louisiana’s private employers added 28,500 jobs over the year, the 50th consecutive month of year-over-year hiring gains. That was offset by a drop of 6,700 government jobs — 4,400 of them state jobs and 2,300 local government jobs.

In the private sector, employment within trade, transportation and utilities reached a record high in November, while professional and business services employment tied a record set in September, according to the BLS data.

Industries with the biggest over-the-year job gains were professional and business services, up 8,300; the education and health services sector and the trade, transportation and utilities sector, 5,900 jobs each; construction, 4,900 jobs; and leisure and hospitality, 2,900 jobs.

Private sector categories that lost jobs over the year were information, which was down 1,100; mining and logging, down 600; and other services, down 400 jobs.

The Louisiana Workforce Commission will release November data for the state’s metropolitan areas and parishes Dec. 30.