Houma-Thibodaux gained 500 jobs in February but was down 5,700 compared to a year earlier, the latest state figures show.
The metro area, comprised of Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes, has lost jobs year-to-year for 12 straight months, according to a report released last week by the Louisiana Workforce Commission.
The latest figures compare current job totals to those in February 2020, a month before the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on social gatherings and business aimed at curbing the virus’s spread.
Houma-Thibodaux posted a 6.2% unemployment rate in February, down from 6.7% in January but up from 3.9% percent a year earlier.
Before the pandemic hit, the area was just beginning to recover from an oil bust that started in 2014, stripping an estimated 25,000 jobs from the economy.
Jobs in the oilfield, the driving force for the local economy, showed the biggest percentage declines among categories tracked in the state report.
Here are other local trends in the latest jobs report. The figures are not adjusted for seasonal variations.
► Local jobs directly involved in oil and gas exploration and production dropped by 100 from January to February. The total, 4,700, is down 1,500, or 24%, compared to February 2020. Year-to-year job totals in the category have been down for 23 consecutive months.
► Oilfield-service jobs showed no change from January to February. The total, 3,900, is down 1,400, or 24%, for the year.
► Local shipbuilding and maritime jobs, now totaling 3,800, remained steady for the month but are down 700, or 16%, for the year.
► A category labeled “administrative and support services,” which includes mostly oil-related jobs, totaled 2,900 in February, no change for the month but down 400, or 12%, compared to a year earlier.
► Leisure and hospitality, a category that includes restaurants, bars and hotels, gained 200 jobs over the month, bringing the total to 7,600. The category remains down 500 jobs, a 6% loss, compared to February 2020.
► The area’s civilian labor force — defined as those employed or actively looking for work — totaled 86,367 in February. That’s almost no change for the month but up 2,985 for the year. Nearly 2,000 more people in Terrebonne and Lafourche were unemployed and looking for work in February compared with a year earlier.
► Houma-Thibodaux’s 6.2% February jobless rate is 0.9 percentage points lower than the state’s 7.1% and 0.4 percentage points higher than the nation’s 6.6%.
► In Terrebonne, 42,445 people were employed in February while 3,163 were jobless but looking for work. The parish’s unemployment rate was 6.9%.
► In Lafourche, 38,558 residents held jobs while 2,201 were unemployed. The parish posted a 5.4% unemployment rate in February.
– Courier and Daily Comet Executive Editor Keith Magill can be reached at 857-2201 or [email protected]