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 — a period just ahead of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic hitting the state.

Louisiana added 7,100 jobs month-to-month for a total of 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.

Professional and business services added 500 jobs in March, bringing the number of jobs in that field in metro Lafayette to 21,500. That’s 200 fewer jobs than the 21,700 in March 2020.

The leisure and hospitality sector is still down 1,600 jobs, or 7.7%, from the 20,900 jobs it had a year ago. The sector gained 200 jobs from February to March.

Mining and logging, which includes oil and gas, added 600 jobs for the month, bringing the total to 9,900. That’s down 2,600 jobs, or 20.8%, from a year ago.

The unemployment rate in Lafayette was 6% in March, down from 6.5% in February, but up from 5.2% in March 2020. That figure is not seasonally adjusted.

We’ll keep you posted on the Acadiana economy. Sign up today.

The Louisiana unemployment rate was 6.6% in March, better than the 7.1% unemployment rate in February. The state’s unemployment rate in March 2020 was 5.3%.

BATON ROUGE: There were 300 fewer people working in Baton Rouge in March, 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.

The Baton Rouge unemployment rate was 5.8% in March, down from 6.2% in February but up from 4.9% in March 2020.

NEW ORLEANS: The Crescent City metro area dropped 900 jobs between February to March to 523,000 jobs. That was down 55,800 jobs, or 9.6%, from a year ago.

The New Orleans unemployment rate was 8%, down from 8.6% in February but up from 4.9% 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 but was down 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.

The state also released unemployment figures for the week ending April 17. There were 8,829 first time claims for the week, down from 9,809 for the week ending April 10. In comparison, there were 91,923 initial claims for the same week in 2020.

The number of continuing claims was up to 52,698, compared to 50,796 for the week ending April 10. The number of continuing claim for the same week in 2020 was 246,293.