(KSLA) - Louisiana has seen more job growth this year than any other state, according to a report out today by the Economic Policy Institute.
The nonprofit think tank says the amount of jobs in the state grew by 1.1 percent from January to April, the highest rate in the country. Texas is second, growing jobs by one percent.
Governor John Bel Edwards says Louisiana employment is at an all-time high.
"This is incredible news for our state, and it is further proof that Louisiana is moving in the right direction when it comes to job availability and having a workforce that is ready to meet the demands of our growing economy," said Edwards.
The unemployment rate in Louisiana now sits at 4.5 percent, up slightly from 4.4 percent in March. This time last year, the rate was 5.4 percent.
The state's unemployment rate is still higher than the national rate, which is 3.9 percent. It's also slightly higher than the record-low state unemployment levels in 2007. Louisiana now ranks 39th in the nation for employment.
In Northwest Louisiana specifically, employment is also improving. The April jobs report for Shreveport won't be available until the end of the month. But back in March, Shreveport's unemployment rate was 4.7 percent, down a whole percentage point from March 2017.
The increase in jobs and employment isn't unique to the Pelican State. 45 states have added jobs in the first four months of 2018, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
EPI analyst Jannelle Jones says the numbers are looking good, but there's still room to grow.
"While the economy continues to improve for working people, we are not at full employment yet," said Jones. "As states experience economic growth, policymakers should implement policies that help a wide group of working people get good jobs."
The job and employment numbers are based on preliminary April 2018 data from the U.S. Department of Labor.