For the 10th time in 11 months, Lafayette Parish's unemployment rate is the lowest in Louisiana. And if that's not enough good news, get this: It's fallen to 3 percent for November. For the metro, which includes Acadia Parish, the rate is 3.1 percent.
The parish rate is down from 4.1 percent in October and 4.9 percent in November a year ago.
Louisiana’s non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in November is 4.6, down from 6.2 percent in October 2012 and 6.6 percent in November 2011. The U.S. rate improved to 7.4 percent from 7.5 percent in October and 8.2 percent in November 2011.
According to Louisiana Workforce Commission numbers compiled by the Lafayette Economic Development Authority (to say LEDA chief Gregg Gothreaux is excited by the recent numbers would be an understatment), total nonfarm employment for the Lafayette MSA was estimated at 170,800 for November 2012. This represents an increase of 2,100 jobs over the month and 15,600 jobs for the 12 months ending in November, a 10 percent gain.
Over the month, goods-producing employment increased by 900, while adding 5,100 jobs when compared to last November. The service-providing sector added 1,200 jobs from October and 10,500 jobs from last November, LEDA says.
LSU economist Loren Scott, who earlier this year predicted that Lafayette would lead the state in job growth over the next two years, told The Advocate the numbers show the strength of the oil and gas industry but that he continues to think they are somewhat skewed.
He said the 10 percent increase “raises a red flag,” and said the numbers could be inflated by people who are working for Lafayette companies in other states, such as Colorado, the Dakotas and Texas.
In his annual economic forecast, delivered as part of ABiz's Entree to Business Breakfast in October, Scott predicted the following job growth across the state over the next two years:
The MSA November unemployment rates and their change from October, according to the Louisiana Workforce Commission:
• Alexandria, 4.5 percent, down from 6.1 percent in October 2012.
• Baton Rouge, 4.5 percent, down from 6.1 percent.
• Houma, 3.1 percent, down from 4.3 percent.
• Lafayette, 3.1 percent, down from 4.2 percent (tied for best in the state, though the parish's rate is lowest)
• Lake Charles, 4.2 percent, down from 5.8 percent.
• Monroe, 4.9 percent, down from 6.7 percent.
• New Orleans, 4.7 percent, down from 6.5 percent.
• Shreveport, 4.8 percent, down from 6.5 percent.