Acadiana Business

Lafayette's unemployment rate drops to 4 percent

by Leslie Turk

Lafayette Parish's unemployment rate went from 4.8 percent in August to 4 percent in September, the lowest in the state.

Preliminary unemployment numbers released by the Louisiana Workforce Commission show that Lafayette Parish, which fell from 4.8 percent unemployment in August to 4 percent in September, has had the lowest unemployment rate in Louisiana for eight of the last nine months. A year ago, the parish's unemployment rate was 5.2 percent.

The Lafayette metro, which includes St. Martin Parish, also has the lowest unemployment rate in the state, 4.1 percent. St. Martin Parish's preliminary September unemployment rate was 4.8 percent - down significantly from 5.7 percent in August.

According to LWC September figures, there were 166,600 non-farm jobs in the Lafayette MSA, an increase of 13,300 jobs from September 2011.

Since September 2011, the service-providing sector has added 8,700 jobs, with the largest increases coming from health care and professional services - 2,500 and 2,400 jobs, respectively.

Goods-producing industries added another 4,600 jobs since last September. Of that, mining, 2,400 jobs, and manufacturing, 1,900 jobs, saw the largest gains. All other industries saw employment increases, except the information and government sectors. Those were unchanged over the year.

"With the positive employment trend continuing into the fourth quarter and holiday hiring already under way at many establishments, 2012 looks to end on a very high note for Acadiana's labor force," says Gregg Gothreaux, president and CEO of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority.

Louisiana's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in September was 7 percent and the national rate was 7.8 percent.

Unemployment rates in September were lower over the year and over the month in every Louisiana MSA. The MSA September rates and their change from August are:

Alexandria, 6.1 percent, versus 7.2 percent

Baton Rouge, 6.2 percent, versus 7.2 percent

Houma, 4.2 percent, versus 4.9 percent

Lafayette, 4.1 percent, versus 5 percent

Lake Charles, 5.7 percent, versus 6.7 percent

Monroe, 6.8 percent, versus 8.1 percent

New Orleans, 6.7 percent, versus 7.5 percent

Shreveport, 6.5 percent, versus 7.2 percent

View more on the metro areas and parishes here.