La. payrolls grow as jobless levels stay flat

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News,Business

Louisiana's job market continued to chug along in April, as the unemployment rate remained low and employers kept adding to payrolls.

The jobless rate was steady for the third month at 4.5 percent, the 10th lowest rate among the states. Louisiana's unemployment rate was 6.4 percent in April 2013.

A separate survey shows employers added 5,000 workers to payrolls in April, quickening growth. Payrolls were almost 15,000 above April 2013 levels.

Both sets of figures — adjusted to cancel out normal seasonal changes — were released Friday by the U.S. Labor Department.

Rhode Island had the nation's worst jobless rate at 8.3 percent, while North Dakota retained the lowest jobless rate at 2.6 percent. Unemployment rates fell in 47 states, rose in one and were flat in two.

The national unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent in April from 6.7 percent in March. That's also lower than the 7.5 percent rate in April 2013.

The number of unemployed Louisianans rose slightly in April to 95,000 from 93,400 in March. The increase in unemployed persons came because the labor force growing faster than people found jobs. More people said they were employed in April, hitting a new peak for the seventh month in a row.

The unemployment rate is calculated by a survey that asks how many people are looking for a job. A second survey each month asks employers how many people are on their payrolls, a measure many economists use as their top labor market indicator.

Louisiana's nonfarm payrolls rose to 1.96 million in people in April, up 5,000 from March and 14,000 higher than a year ago. Louisiana has seen four years of strong payroll growth, with payrolls rising 4.6 percent during that time, outstripping the number of jobs lost during the recession.

Payrolls rose in April in sectors including trade, transportation and utilities; professional and business services; education and health services; financial activities and manufacturing. Payrolls fell in leisure and hospitality, construction and government.

The broadest measure of those who are unemployed averaged 11.5 percent in Louisiana from April 2013 through March 2014, the most recent figures available. That number includes people who are looking for work only sporadically, have given up looking or are working part time because they can't find a full-time job.

Nationwide, that broad measure averaged 13.4 percent during the same time.

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Online: State employment report: http://1.usa.gov/104hKGL

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Follow Jeff Amy at: http://twitter.com/jeffamy

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