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Louisiana jobless rate rises in 6th straight month

Jeff Amy, Associated Press

Louisiana's unemployment rate rose to 7 percent in June, climbing for the sixth straight month as labor figures suggested a pause in economic growth.

A separate survey showed state employer payrolls fell slightly.

Both sets of figures were released Thursday by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Louisiana's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.8 percent in May and 6.7 percent in June 2012.

The state's labor force was flat from May to June, but the number of people who reported having a job fell by 3,600.

Louisiana had 146,800 unemployed people in June, up from 143,300 in May, and 139,400 in June 2012.

Louisiana Workforce Commission Executive Director Curt Eysink, focusing on year-over-year changes, said he believes it's "a time of opportunity in Louisiana."

"The unemployment rate data contradicts the other labor market indicators," Eysink said in a statement. "Private-sector employment, total nonfarm employment, the civilian labor force and the number of people in the labor force who are working are all up over the year."

The national unemployment rate held steady from May to June at 7.6 percent, but was below the 8.2 percent rate of June 2012. Nevada had the nation's highest jobless rate, at 9.6 percent, while North Dakota kept the lowest unemployment rate at 3.1 percent.

The unemployment rate is calculated by a survey that asks how many people are looking for a job. A second survey each month asks employers how many people are on their payrolls, a measure many economists use as their top labor market indicator.

Those numbers show payrolls dipped to 1.95 million people in June, down by 3,200 from a post-recession high in May, but up nearly 22,000 from a year ago.

Payroll numbers, like unemployment numbers, are adjusted to cancel out predictable seasonal fluctuations.

Louisiana economic sectors that shed jobs in June include trade, transportation and utilities; education and health services; government and manufacturing. Sectors that grew included professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, construction and financial activities.

The broadest measure of those who are unemployed averaged 12.2 percent in Louisiana during the 12 months ended March 30, the most recent figures available. That number includes people who are looking for work only sporadically, have given up looking or are working part time because they can't find a full-time job.

Nationwide, that broad measure averaged 14.5 percent during the same time.


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