The Edwards Administration is celebrating 14 straight months of year-to-year job gains for the month of November. New Orleans led all cities at 12,500 jobs added over the year, followed by Baton Rouge at 6,300 jobs, but Workforce Commission Chief Economist Ali Bustamante says he was particularly impressed by big gains in two areas.

“Employment levels in Lake Charles, as well as in Hammond. These are two core places where we have seen a lot of gains.”

Hammond is currently at an all-time high for employment.

Bustamante gives a lot of the credit to increased education spending, and the Medicaid expansion.

“We’re also looking at historical highs when we look at the educational and health services sector. Today, that’s really a foundation of the Louisiana economy.”

But the state did see plummeting personal income growth in the third quarter. At 2.3 percent, it’s down more than four percent from the first quarter. Governor Edwards put much of the blame for the drop on tariffs, and Bustamante says the numbers back that up.

“When you look at the struggles that agriculture is having, as well as the oil industry, it’s hard not to point to the possibility that tariffs had something to do with it, as well as oil prices.”

Agriculture earnings dropped 101 million dollars last quarter.

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