Acadiana Business

Economist Scott questions Lafayette's job growth

by Heather Miller

I mean, I love Lafayette. These are wonderful people. But the idea that they picked up 10,000 jobs in the last year is silly.' -Economist Loren Scott, responding to the most recent employment report released by the Louisiana Workforce Commission. According to economist Loren Scott, Lafayette's 7 percent job growth in 2011 as reported by the Louisiana Workforce Commission "just doesn't add up," especially considering that the Hub City has never had an annual growth rate that high - not even in the most booming days of oil and gas.

The Advocate reports that Scott is questioning the latest employment report from the Workforce Commission, which calculates that the state picked up 46,000 jobs last year, with 18,500 of those coming from rural areas in the state:
Louisiana's 6.9 percent January unemployment rate, down 0.8 percent from a year ago, followed the downward trend of 44 other states across the country.

In March of last year, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics began collecting labor data using a new methodology that reduces state input and may result in an increase in variability from one month to the next, accounting for what's become a common refrain from economists like Scott, who remarked, "Things just don't add up. They just flat don't add up."

"I mean, I love Lafayette. These are wonderful people," he remarked. "But the idea that they picked up 10,000 jobs in the last year is silly. I mean that's just silly. That's a 7 percent growth rate. In the hottest oil and gas extraction years, they never had 7 percent growth rate."
The Louisiana Workforce Commission reported the following employment gains and losses in the state's eight metropolitan statistical areas:
Alexandria - lost 1,100 jobs
Shreveport - gained 1,200 jobs
New Orleans - gained 8,300 jobs
Baton Rouge - gained 2,700 jobs
Lafayette - gained 10,300 jobs
Houma - gained 4,700 jobs
Monroe - gained 900 jobs
Lake Charles - gained 400 jobs

Read more here.