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Louisiana sees job growth

NEW ORLEANS — Louisiana’s non-farm job gain of 9,400 over the past 12 months is virtually all due to growth in healthcare, education services and hospitality, with a temporary boost from hiring for the 2010 Census.

The Louisiana Workforce Commission report on employment in June, issued Friday, is a tale of two spread sheets. Goods-producing jobs, on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, are down 12,700 from June 2009, while jobs in the service-providing sector have grown by 22,100 over the same time.

Manufacturing has lost 6,400 jobs over the year. Construction has 5,600 fewer positions. And the mining sector, consisting mostly of petroleum and petroleum-support businesses, has fallen by 300 jobs.

On the other side, education and health services — combined for jobs reports — have added 11,900 jobs, the most active hiring sector over the past year. Leisure-hospitality, which includes the casinos and tourism, is up 4,000 jobs.

Government jobs, mostly in the federal sector where temporary workers have been hired for the Census, are up by 7,400. But there also are notable negatives in the service sector: the financial industry has lost 2,300 jobs and trade, transportation and utilities are down by 2,300 jobs.

Much of the overall growth came in a month: there were 5,600 more jobs in June than in May.

“The job growth statewide in June is very encouraging when you consider it against a backdrop of factors that are working against growth, not the least of which are the federal drilling moratorium and soft national economy,” said Curt Eysink, executive director of the Workforce Commission.

Until now, the effect of BP’s oil spill in the Gulf Of Mexico hasn’t shown up in the numbers, though state officials expect a hit sooner or later. And the moratorium, if it stays in effect for at least six months as the Obama administration wants, could cost the state thousands of jobs.

Manufacturing also is bracing for more hits: the General Motors Co. plant in Shreveport will close no later than mid-2012, eliminating about 900 jobs. Earlier this month, Northrop Grumman Corp. stunned the state by announcing it would close its Avondale shipyard in early 2013. The yard employs about 4,700 people, making it Louisiana’s largest manufacturing employer.

And the last 12 month’s growth is centered largely in two metropolitan areas: New Orleans and Baton Rouge. New Orleans gained 4,800 jobs over the past year, while Baton Rouge added 1,400.

But in both cases, it was the service sector providing the boost. New Orleans gained 7,400 service jobs and lost 2,600 goods-oriented jobs. Baton Rouge added 2,900 service jobs and lost 1,500 goods-producing jobs.

The only other metro area to have a net year-to-year jobs gain was Monroe, with 500 — 300 of those coming in goods-producing categories.

All other metro areas lost jobs, led by Lake Charles with 1,200 and Alexandria with 1,100.

The full force of a deepwater drilling moratorium would be felt in New Orleans, Lafayette and Houma-Thibodaux, economists say.


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