(The Center Square) – Louisiana has regained more than half of the jobs it had lost since the low point of the pandemic-related recession, the Louisiana Workforce Commission reported Friday.

The state has gained 133,400 jobs since April, according to preliminary August data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which represents a 56 percent recovery, the LWC says.

The same report indicates the state’s unemployment rate fell from 9.4 percent to 7.6 percent from July to August. Those numbers have been adjusted to reflect seasonal employment shifts.

“We’re headed in the right direction, in terms of people going back to work,” LWC Secretary Ava Dejoie said, adding that the low price of oil continues to be a drag on the state’s recovery.

The national unemployment rate fell by 1.8 percentage points in August to 8.4 percent but was 4.7 points higher than in August 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

Unemployment rates were lower in August in 41 states, higher in 2 states, and stable in 7 states and the District of Columbia, the BLS says. All 50 states and the District had jobless rate increases from a year earlier.

The trade, transportation and utilities sector led Louisiana’s job growth, adding about 6,400 jobs, the LWC says. Leisure and hospitality gained 5,400 jobs, while professional and business services added 1,900 jobs.

Among the state’s nine metropolitan areas, seasonally adjusted data for August indicates:

• Alexandria gained 800 jobs from July 2020, but lost 2,700 jobs from August 2019.

• Baton Rouge gained 10,000 jobs from July 2020, but lost 20,600 jobs from August 2019.

• Hammond gained 500 jobs from July 2020, but lost 2,500 jobs from August 2019.

• Houma gained 1,600 jobs from July 2020, but lost 5,400 jobs from August 2019.

• Lafayette remained unchanged from July 2020, but lost 11,900 jobs from August 2019.

• Lake Charles gained 1,100 jobs from July 2020, but lost 14,200 jobs from August 2019.

• Monroe gained 900 jobs from July 2020 and 500 jobs from August 2019.

• New Orleans gained 3,000 jobs from July 2020, but lost 66,400 jobs from August 2019.

• Shreveport gained 2,400 jobs from July 2020, but lost 10,500 jobs from August 2019.

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