Preliminary data released today by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) shows that Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 14.5 percent for April 2020. Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased by 7.8 percentage points from March 2020’s revised seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 6.7 percent. For a comparison, the United States seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is at 14.7 percent.

“The occurrence of COVID-19, has been unprecedented both for Louisiana and the United States at large. However, the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) quickly mobilized and has paid over $1.9 billion dollars to Louisiana residents to assist in their time of need,” said LWC Secretary Ava Dejoie. “The LWC is ready to assist all those who have been displaced, and put people back to work in family-sustaining careers in the days ahead. With tens of thousands of jobs currently available through our online job-seeker network and career one-stop centers all across the state, the LWC should be the first place individuals turn to seek gainful employment.”

LWC staff have worked tirelessly to get unemployment benefits (UI) to the residents as quickly as possible. LWC personnel were quickly mobilized to assist all those who submitted a UI claim, with the hiring of additional staff, to adding multiple servers to efficiently increase online capabilities. Louisiana was also one of the first two states in the nation to pay Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): as of Friday, May 22, approximately 494,634 individuals in Louisiana have been provided monetary compensation during this unprecedented event.

As businesses begin reopening their doors, the LWC is hard at work putting people back into employment. For the month of May, the LWC has awarded more than $5.6 million in Incumbent Worker Training Program (IWTP) grants which will create more than 410 jobs and train & retain 8,753.

For example, Weyerhaeuser, one of the largest sustainable forest product companies in the world, is taking advantage of an IWTP grant. The grant, once received from the LWC, will help train approximately 454 employees, with a projected average wage increase of 10.02%, and the creation of 46 jobs.

People looking to get back into the workforce should know that the LWC currently has more than 10,000 new jobs available from employers all across the state, with more jobs being posted each day. Individuals looking for a job can head over to http://www.laworks.net/HALOW OR to www.LouisianaWorks.net/hire. This will show them the available jobs in their region.

It is also important to note that the initial unemployment insurance claims for the week ending May 16, 2020 dropped to 28,545 from the week ending May 9, 2020 total of 40,125.

“The LWC will continue to work with employers to put people back into family-sustaining careers,” said Dejoie.

Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted civilian labor force, or the number of people who are employed in addition to those looking for work, decreased by 188,539 from 2,126,568 in March 2020 to 1,938,029 in April 2020.

The number of seasonally adjusted employed individuals decreased by 328,470 from 1,984,927 in March 2020 to 1,656,457 in April 2020. The number of seasonally adjusted unemployed individuals increased by 139,931 from 141,641 in March 2020 to 281,572 in April 2020.

Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment decreased by 239,600 from 1,960,700 in March 2020 to 1,721,100 in April 2020. Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted private sector employment decreased by 228,900 from 1,628,300 in March 2020 to 1,399,400 in April 2020.

Among Louisiana’s MSAs in April 2020, seasonally adjusted data shows:

• Alexandria lost 5,900 jobs from April 2019 and 5,000 jobs from March 2020.

• Baton Rouge lost 52,900 jobs from April 2019 and 54,100 jobs from March 2020.

• Hammond lost 5,200 jobs from April 2019 and 4,900 jobs from March 2020.

• Houma lost 7,600 jobs from April 2019 and 6,000 jobs from March 2020.

• Lafayette lost 26,800 jobs from April 2019 and 21,800 jobs from March 2020.

• Lake Charles lost 23,400 jobs from April 2019 and 15,600 jobs from March 2020.

• Monroe lost 7,600 jobs April 2019 and 6,900 jobs from March 2020.

• New Orleans lost 98,700 jobs from April 2019 and 85,600 jobs from March 2020.

• Shreveport lost 21,100 jobs from April 2019 and 18,700 jobs from March 2020.

Louisiana’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 14.5 percent for April 2020. Louisiana’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased 8.2 percentage points from March 2020’s revised not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 6.3 percent.

Louisiana’s not seasonally adjusted civilian labor force, or the number of people who are employed in addition to those seeking work, decreased by 200,753 from 2,129,078 in March 2020 to 1,928,325 in April 2020.

The number of not seasonally adjusted employed individuals decreased by 345,871 from 1,993,963 in March 2020 to 1,648,092 in April 2020. The number of not seasonally adjusted unemployed individuals increased by 145,118 from 135,115 in March 2020 to 280,233 in April 2020.

Louisiana’s not seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment decreased by 232,000 jobs from 1,959,600 in March 2020 to 1,727,600 in April 2020.