Louisiana joins South Dakota as the only two states in the country not experiencing an uptick in their economies.
The Associated Press reports that most of the nation’s counties and all but two states “enjoyed better conditions in March than in February,” also noting that first-time jobless claims have risen slightly in the Pelican state:
Post-Hurricane Katrina construction projects are winding down in Louisiana. The Mountain states have felt the effects of government job cuts more severely than elsewhere because of their small populations. And Iowa has suffered an increase in foreclosures.
The government reported last week that the overall economy’s growth slowed sharply to an annual rate of just 1.8 percent from January through March. That was down sharply from a 3.1 percent rate in the final three months of 2010.
Many economists think the slowdown will be temporary. Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insight, thinks growth will rebound to nearly 3 percent in the current April-June quarter. He predicts it will strengthen further to around 3.5 percent in the second half of the year.
Despite overall drops in foreclosures and bankruptcies nationwide and an increase in hiring from private businesses, The Baton Rouge Business Report says U.S. unemployment rose slightly in March from 8.8 to 9 percent, even with the addition of 244,000 jobs last month:
Retailers, factories, financial companies, education, health care and even construction companies all added jobs. However, federal, state and local governments cut jobs.
The latest employment figures suggest businesses are confident in the economy’s returning strength, despite weak growth earlier this year.
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