By KEVIN McGILL
NEW ORLEANS (AP) â¿¿ Federal unemployment statistics show Louisiana's unemployment rate edged up to 6 percent in February, despite an uptick in the number of people working in non-agricultural jobs.
Although up a bit from 5.9 percent in January, the jobless rate remained below the national rate of 7.7 percent. And it was better than the state's February 2012 rate of 6.9 percent.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Friday shows that seasonally adjusted non-farm employment in the state went up from January to February â¿¿ from 1,934.9 million to 1.944 million. It was an improvement of more than 25,000 jobs from February a year ago.
The preliminary figures also show a continuing increase in the number of people comprising the state labor force, a factor in the uptick in the unemployment rate over the month despite the increase in payrolls. Seasonally adjusted figures in the report showed Louisiana with a civilian non-farm labor force of 1.94 million for February, up by roughly 10,000 from January.
The number of unemployed Louisiana workers was put at 126,700 for February, compared to 124,300 the month before and 143,500 in February of last year.
Sectors that showed improvement over the month, according to seasonally adjusted figures, included construction; manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; professional and business services. Declines were measured in financial activities; education and health services; leisure and hospitality; and government.