Louisiana's strong jobs report is not entire story

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - For the fourth month in a row the jobless rate is down for all metro areas in Louisiana, with statewide unemployment now at just 4 percent.

That translates into more than 61,000 more people in the workforce in just the last year, according to the Louisiana Workforce Commission. In the Shreveport-Bossier metro area unemployment now stands at just 4.3 percent.

"Shreveport MSA, which is the four parishes here, we have over three thousand more employed," explained Jacques Lasseigne.

Lasseigne serves as regional industry director with the Louisiana Workforce Commission and points to several recent developments as playing a key role in the strong.

Those developments include recent activity by CSRA, which is now approaching 800 hires, while Benteler Steel that's hired almost 500 people.

Over the years this local job market has seen good times and bad. For example, back in the early '80's when the oil and gas industry was king, with its boom and bust cycles, times were sometimes tough.

Lasseigne told us that now conditions are different mostly because the economy and the job market are far more diverse.

Finding a good job is sometimes easier said than done. Just ask Willie White, a 68-year-old Vietnam veteran.

"I've been looking for a job more than a year, going on two years," White said.

But unemployment rates alone don't tell the whole story. There's also something called the Labor Participation Rate or L.P.R.

"People would leave the market, their job market and so they wouldn't be counted and they could be working," Lasseigne said. "But they were so discouraged they, they didn't want to look for work. So they would be taken out of the formula."

Right now, 62.7 percent of people who can work in the U.S. are in the workforce, according to U.S. Labor statistics.

Lasseigne said getting more of those people back to work will get us even closer to full employment.

All the figures in this report come from the month of December and January's employment figures will come out at the end of this month.

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