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Louisiana jobless rate rises for fourth month

Jeff Amy, Associated Press

Louisiana's unemployment rate rose in April for the fourth straight month, as fewer people reported having work.

While the labor force was basically flat, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people who said they had a job fell by nearly 5,000.

The jobless rate rose to 6.5 from 6.2 percent in March, though it remained below April 2012's 6.8 percent rate.

The number of unemployed Louisianans rose to 135,000 in April, up from 129,000 in March. About 142,000 people were unemployed in April 2012.

Nevada had the highest jobless rate among the states in March at 9.6 percent, while North Dakota again had the lowest rate at 3.3 percent.

The national unemployment rate fell to 7.5 percent in April from 7.6 percent in March. It was also below the 8.1 percent level of April 2012.

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, also published by BLS, shows payrolls were flat from March at 1.94 million but continued to hover just below Louisiana's all-time high of 1.95 million set in December. About 16,000 more people had a job in April 2013 than in April 2012.

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

The state's leisure and hospitality sector increased payrolls by about 1 percent in April. Also adding workers were financial activities and trade, transportation and utilities. Shedding jobs were professional and business services, education and health services, construction, manufacturing and government.

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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