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State Unemployment Decline: Is it Really Good News?

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The Governor’s Office is touting that the state has the second largest monthly unemployment decline in the country for February, but is it really good news? The unemployment rate was 4.5-percent, over a full percent lower than February 2017. But LSU economist Loren Scott says the numbers aren’t as rosy in towns where construction has slowed.

 

Scott says, "Construction numbers (in Baton Rouge) are down 6600." 

 

Scott says the state’s economy is based largely on gas and oil. He says the New Orleans job market is being severely affected right now, citing one oil contractor.

 

According to Scott, "Of the 62 boats that Hornbeck has, 47 are tied up right now." 

 

Baton Rouge lost 1,500 jobs last year, Lafayette saw 2,100 jobs go away and 1,400 jobs in New Orleans are not around that were last year. Scott says some on unemployment are discouraged by the lack of jobs and give up, resulting in a false reality of the unemployment rate.

 

Scott says, "A significant part of that would be because people have stopped looking for jobs."