Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its report examining the job data for April 2019. Many have been quick to paint this report as great news, pointing out that Louisiana’s jobless rate has dropped by 0.2 percent, bringing the total unemployment rate to 4.5 percent.
In a vacuum, this would be great news, even given that Louisiana’s adjusted unemployment rate is still nearly one point above the national average.
But, given a closer look at the numbers, Louisiana’s lower employment rate is nothing but a mirage, as the state is still struggling economically.
From April 2018 to April 2019, those having or looking for a job, known as the Civilian Labor Force, has declined by 8,229. During the same time period, the number of people unemployed in Louisiana has decreased by 8,954. From these numbers, we can see almost all of the unemployment decrease has not come from Louisianans finding jobs, but from dropping out of the workforce entirely.
Further data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics backs this up, as Louisiana has only seen a 0.1 percent increase in non-farm employment between April 2018 and April 2019.
This is not an economy that is providing jobs and opportunity for the people of Louisiana. Rather, it’s one that continues to languish in stagnation. As evidenced by a recent report from the census bureau, people are leaving Louisiana for jobs and opportunity elsewhere. As we, and all Louisianans continue to search for much-needed positive economic news, must accept the reality that this report is unfortunately not it.
For solutions on how Louisiana can get the economy growing and creating jobs again, check out the Pelican Institute’s “A Jobs and Opportunity Agenda for Louisiana.”