The New Orleans area gained 2,200 jobs in October but has shed 8,700 over the year, according to Louisiana Workforce Commission figures released today.

The New Orleans area had 520,800 nonfarm jobs in October, up from 518,600 in September but down from 529,500 a year ago. The goods-producing sector lost 200 jobs from last month and shrank by 4,600 positions over the year, while the service-providing sector increased by 2,400 jobs over September but lost 4,100 positions over the year.

The New Orleans area's unemployment rate of 6.8 percent, down from the 7.2 percent rate in September but up from 5.3 percent a year ago, was tied with Baton Rouge as the third highest rate in the state behind Monroe at 7.6 percent and Shreveport at 7.1 percent.

Houma had the lowest at 5.1 percent followed by Lafayette at 5.9 percent and Alexandria and Lake Charles, both at 6.5 percent.

St. Bernard Parish had the area's highest unemployment rate at 9.9 percent, down from 10.5 percent in September but up from 5.9 percent a year ago. St. Tammany Parish had the lowest at 5 percent, down from 5.2 in September but up from 4 percent a year ago.

The remaining New Orleans area parishes posted the following rates:

- Orleans Parish: 9.8 percent, down from 10.6 percent in September but up from 7.7 percent a year ago;

- St. John Parish: 8 percent, down from 8.3 percent in September but up from 6 percent a year ago;

- St. Charles Parish: 6.1 percent, down from 6.4 percent in September but up from 4.9 percent a year ago;

- Jefferson Parish: 6.1 percent, down from 6.4 percent in September but up from 4.7 percent a year ago; and

- Plaquemines Parish: 6.2 percent, equal to the September rate but up from 4.7 percent a year ago.

Louisiana's unadjusted unemployment rate was 7.1 percent in October, down from September's rate of 7.4 percent but up from the 5.3 percent rate a year ago. Statewide, Lafourche Parish posted the lowest unemployment rate at 4.8 percent, while West Carroll Parish north of Monroe had the highest at 16.7 percent.

There were 1,910,800 people employed in October, up from 1,906,100 in September but down from 1,954,800 a year ago.

"We are pleased to see Louisiana's unemployment rate remain stable at 7.4 percent while the majority of other states in the country saw increases in their unemployment rate," said Curt Eysink, executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission. "We also saw that the private education and health care services sectors continue to generate jobs. In the goods-producing sector, manufacturing led in job gains for the month."