Monday, January 30, 2006

Unemployment rate proves its vulnerability to reality

Louisiana's hurricane-ravaged economy got a bit of surprising news last week when the state labor department reported that the unemployment rate had dropped by nearly half. Tempered enthusiasm is in order, though, since facts, in this case, get in the way of percentages.

The state's jobless rate, which officially dropped from 12.1 percent in November to 6.4 percent in December, has long been spun in various directions by various interests, depending upon how the economy is doing.

By the time Katrina and Rita had done their respective numbers on Louisiana in August and September, the state had lost more than 205,000 non-farm jobs, including enough in the New Orleans area to completely wipe out 40 years of job growth, along with 11 years statewide.

1 comment:

bayoustjohndavid said...

Assuming the state can distort it one way or another, hard to see which way the state's interest would lie. High unemployment might help get more federal aid, but acknowledging an extended period of high unemployment would increase pressure to extend unemployment benefits past their normal 22 week limit. I doubt the state wants that expense.