Sept. 24–Houma-Thibodaux lost 100 jobs last month and is down 100 compared to August 2017, preliminary state figures show.
If the figures hold until revised data are released later this week, it would mean the number of jobs in the area has increased by 300 since the year began.
The metro area, comprised of Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes, has lost roughly 16,000 jobs — nearly one of every five — since mid-2014 as low crude prices sparked layoffs and work slowdowns throughout the oil industry. The U.S. industry has rebounded along with oil prices, but job growth has been limited mostly to inland shale fields, where drilling is less costly than the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Other indicators have shown the Gulf oilfield has been stabilizing after years of decline. Bidding was up during last month’s oil lease sale compared to the last one in March, though companies sought the right to drill in only about 1 percent of the acreage the federal government offered.
For almost all of 2018, oil has traded above $60 a barrel, a figure widely cited as the break-even point for most Gulf deepwater operations. West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. benchmark, closed trading at $71.80 a barrel Friday, up 2.6 percent for the week. Brent crude, the global benchmark, closed at $78.80 a barrel, up just under 1 percent for the week.
The Gulf rig count stood at 18 last week, the same as the week before but down 1 compared to a year ago, according to figures released Friday by the Houston-based oilfield-services company Baker-Hughes. But it remains down 68 percent from 56 rigs in August 2014, when the bust began.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission’s revised jobs report will also include metro area unemployment rates and more details about the categories of jobs lost or gained.
Houma-Thibodaux posted a jobless rate of 5.8 percent in July, down from 6.1 percent in June but up from 5.7 percent in July 2017.
The latest figures, released Friday, are adjusted for seasonal variations, including temporary jobs businesses add or eliminate routinely at certain times of the year.
Louisiana’s unemployment rate rose a tenth of a percentage point to 5 percent in August, increasing for the fifth straight month.
The national average remained steady from July to August at 3.9 percent. Louisiana has the nation’s fourth-highest jobless rate, behind West Virginia, the District of Columbia and Alaska.
(c)2018 The Houma Courier, La.
Visit The Houma Courier, La. at www.houmatoday.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.