- Associated Press - Friday, March 25, 2016

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Louisiana’s unemployment rate was flat in February, as the number of people finding jobs kept pace with a growing labor force.

The jobless rate was flat at 5.9 percent from January, and below February 2015’s rate of 6.7 percent.

A separate survey shows payrolls fell by 5,000 from January to February, pushing them nearly 19,000 below year-ago levels, signaling continued weakness in Louisiana’s economy. Oil and gas employment fell by 12,000 over the year.

The unemployment rate ties for seventh-worst among states, remaining above the nation’s 4.9 percent rate.

Both sets of figures, adjusted to cancel out seasonal changes, were released Friday by the U.S. Labor Department.

The number of unemployed Louisianans rose to 128,000 in February, up by 3,000 from January, but about 20,000 fewer than in February 2015.

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