As election day quickly approaches and claims about the condition of the Louisiana economy arise daily, it’s crucial to separate fact from fiction. The truth is unsurprising yet disheartening for people across the state – from July of 2018 to July 2019, Louisiana was the only state in the nation to lose jobs. These numbers demonstrate yet again that the Louisiana economy is hurting for jobs and opportunity at a time when the national economy is thriving.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Louisiana’s nonfarm employment decreased by .1 percent, which equates to a net loss of 1,000 jobs over the past year in the Pelican State. Looking at the following map, you can see that Louisiana is not only falling behind nationally, but it’s also losing ground to its southern neighbors.
As Louisiana lost jobs, Alabama, Florida and Texas all saw employment increases of more than two percent. Even Mississippi, a state that has traditionally mirrored Louisiana’s economic performance, saw an increase of 1.6 percent.
While these employment numbers paint a picture of a struggling state, they aren’t the only data points that reveal this truth.
The Civilian Labor Force, which calculates the number of people working or looking for work, also decreased by 6,636 people over the same one-year period, the fourth largest decline in the nation. This dip can be attributed to a couple of factors, one being people moving to other states that provide more access to quality jobs and opportunity and also the rise in discouraged Louisiana workers who have simply give up looking for jobs.
Given the previous troubling statistics, it should come as no surprise that Louisiana is currently tied with Kentucky and Michigan for the seventh highest unemployment rate in the nation at 4.3 percent.
Louisiana working families have long deserved an economy replete with high-quality jobs and opportunity. Unfortunately, the status quo powers that be in the state are bringing about the loss jobs, workers and ultimately, opportunity. There are many factors, such as an overly complicated and expensive tax system, a broken legal code and a struggling education system to name a few, that need to fundamentally change in order for Louisiana to truly provide worthwhile jobs and opportunity for its citizens.