Lowest Unemployment Rate Belongs to Houma, La.

Louisiana's employment is doing pretty well these days, with a 3.5 percent unemployment rate recorded in the Houma area for February 2009 -- lowest among the nation's 372 metropolitan statistical areas, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC). Houma's January rate of 3.7 also was lowest in the country.

In fact, every Louisiana metropolitan statistical area reported job gains and steady unadjusted unemployment rates in February.

LWC announced it has contracted for three years with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's Research Consortium that will lead to a "more responsive" workforce delivery system. The consortium will develop a method and the tools for providing enhanced information on workforce demand and projected supply by combining LWC data on industry and occupational employment projections with the consortium's data on Louisiana's population, education, poverty, and other levels.

"Our partnership with UL Lafayette will enable us to take the workforce data we already gather and use it in a way we never have before to improve occupational forecasting," LWC Executive Director Tim Barfield said. "This means job seekers will have better information on work opportunities in the near term and in the future, training providers will be able to continually realign to produce more graduates with marketable skills, and businesses will have a better labor pool to draw from."

The consortium includes the Cecil J. Picard Center for Child Development and Lifelong Learning, the Center for Business and Information Technologies, and the B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration.

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