For the third time in the last four months, the number of jobs in metro Baton Rouge posted a month-to-month decline.
There were 300 fewer people working in Baton Rouge in March than February, bringing the total number of jobs to 387,400. That’s down 21,000, or 5.1%, from the 408,400 jobs in March 2020.
Louisiana added 7,100 jobs month-to-month, for a total 1.8 million, according to data released Friday by the Louisiana Workforce Commission. That’s still down 134,700 jobs, or 6.8%, from March 2020. The numbers are not seasonally adjusted.
The data was compiled through surveys conducted during the second week in March, which was after the state removed capacity restrictions on most businesses for the first time in more than a year. Even so, social distancing requirements still restrict how many customers many establishments across the state can have indoors. Live music indoors has also returned with some limitations. Around the same time the survey was taken, the state was expanding the pool of people eligible to get the COVID vaccine.
The March 2020 data was collected the week before the state shut down schools, bars, casinos and restaurant dining rooms in an effort to control the spread of the coronavirus.
The Baton Rouge job decrease came even though the number of leisure and hospitality jobs jumped by 1,200, or 3.5%, for March. There were 36,000 people working in the sector, down 2,400, or 6.3%, from the 38,400 jobs in March 2020.
Several other sectors saw slight gains. Construction added 200 jobs from February to March, to hit 41,600. That’s still down 5,900 jobs, or 12.4%, from the 47,500 jobs in March 2020. Manufacturing added 200 jobs to reach 29,100. That’s down 1,000 jobs, or 3.3%, from a year ago. Government added 200 jobs to hit 77,400, still 100 fewer than the 77,500 a year ago.
But trade, transportation and utilities was down 800 jobs month-to-month to 68,200, which is 1,200 fewer jobs than last year, a 1.8% drop. Professional and business services was down 700, or 1.5%, from February to 46,100. Education and health services was down 400 for the month to 51,700.
The Baton Rouge unemployment rate was 5.8% in March, down from 6.2% in February but up compared to 4.9% in March 2020.
Louisiana’s unemployment rate was 6.6% in March, better than the 7.1% unemployment rate in February but up from 5.3% a year ago.
NEW ORLEANS: The New Orleans metro area dropped 900 jobs between February to March to hit 523,000 jobs. That was down 55,800 jobs, or 9.6%, compared to a year ago.
The New Orleans unemployment rate was 8%, down from 8.6% in February but up from 4.9% in March 2020.
LAFAYETTE: Acadiana added 1,800 jobs between February and March, the largest increase posted by any of the state’s metro regions. The increase brought the number of jobs in metro Lafayette to 190,300, which was still down 12,900 jobs, or 6.4%, from March 2020.
The unemployment rate in Lafayette was 6% in March, down from 6.5% in February but up from 5.2% in March 2020.
OTHER AREAS: Lake Charles added 900 jobs over the month but lost 17,200 jobs over the year to 92,100; Shreveport-Bossier City added 500 jobs month-to-month but was still down 11,800 jobs over the year to 166,600; Alexandria added 400 jobs for the month and lost 1,400 jobs over the year to 59,800; Houma-Thibodaux added 400 jobs over the month but was down 4,100 jobs over the year to 82,100; Hammond added 200 jobs over the month to 45,400 jobs, still down 1,300 jobs over the year; Monroe added 200 jobs month-to-month and lost 3,800 jobs over the year to 73,700.